Border Town Mayor: Influx of Immigrants Not Yet a Crisis

Jun 29, 2014 4:04pm

Although President Obama called the influx of undocumented minors on the U.S.-Mexico border a “humanitarian crisis” this week, Mayor Jim Darling of the U.S. border town of McAllen, Texas, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he disagrees with that label.

“We don’t think it’s a crisis,” Darling said today on “This Week.” “We’re doing everything — efforts here at the border to make sure it doesn’t turn into a crisis.”

Darling described how McAllen’s border bus station serves as “point zero” for the undocumented immigrants as they are processed by border patrol. In order to prevent the situation from reaching what he would consider to be a crisis, Darling said many of McAllen’s community organizations have stepped up to offer services to help the incoming arrivals.

“They come — they only have the clothes that they have on their back. They haven’t had proper hygiene for the last couple of weeks. They’re hungry. They’re a lot of little kids,” Darling said. “And so what happened to us is a Catholic church at the city of McAllen, [in addition to] other community entities got together and decided that we’re not going to send them from our city in those conditions. And they’re providing for all those needed services.”

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Mayor Jim Darling of McAllen, Texas on This Week. Credit: ABC News

Despite the town’s best efforts, McAllen’s local newspaper, The Monitor, ran a front page headline Friday stating that costs were mounting for immigrant care for towns on the border.

“We’ve spent $70,000 so far. We expect to spend over half a million before the end of the year,” Darling said. “The Catholic charities and other charitable organizations are spending about $150,000. They expect to spend almost a million dollars before the end of the year. So it’s not fair to our taxpayers. It’s not fair to the charities to have to front those monies when really this is a federal situation.”

In addition to the financial burden, Darling said that McAllen may not have the human resources to continue to aid more undocumented immigrants in the future.

“We’re really worried about sustainability, both from the standpoint of dollars, but also from community participation,” Darling told Stephanopoulos. “We have doctors that volunteer to see the kids and the moms, and that’s way, way too much to expect them to do that on any kind of sustainable basis.

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