El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser is a Democrat with a problem. His city is ground zero for the crisis involving illegal aliens crossing the Mexican border into Texas. Thousands arrive every day and the city’s shelters, hotels, and motels are full.
Leeser is a loyal party man and despite hinting several times that he would declare a state of emergency in the city, he hesitated. As it turns out, according to several sources, the White House pressured Leeser not to declare an emergency largely because it would help expose the true nature of the crisis on our southern border — something Joe Biden is desperate to avoid.
If Leeser declared an emergency, it would open the spigot for federal and state money to flow into the city. And despite the fact that the city is spending upwards of $300,000 daily to feed, house, and clothe about 1,600 illegal aliens a day, Leeser is resisting the impulse to declare the emergency.
At least three of the El Paso City Council’s eight members have urged Mayor Oscar Leeser to issue an emergency declaration in response to the thousands of migrants who’ve filled the city’s shelters and are being housed in local hotels, sources familiar with the matter said.
But Leeser admitted during a private phone conversation last month that he’d been directed otherwise by the Biden administration, one of the officials told The Post.
“He told me the White House asked him not to,” Councilmember Claudia Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also said Leeser has repeatedly assured her that he’d declare a state of emergency “if things got worse” — without saying what that meant.
Leeser denied to the Post that he was buckling under pressure from Biden not to declare an emergency. But it seems pretty clear that something or someone asked him not to issue the declaration.
In May, The Post first reported how officials in El Paso were considering declaring a state of emergency ahead of the expected ending of pandemic-related expulsions of border-crossers under Title 42 of the federal Public Health Services Act.
The move would have made the city and county eligible for state and federal funding to open additional shelters for housing migrants.
But the following day, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said that “the mayor and I backed off,” telling The Post that “we found out that there’s very little difference between the funding we’re getting now and the funding that we would get if it went up to the governor and the governor sent it to President Biden.”
That simply isn’t true. El Paso’s official website shows the city has received only $2 million in federal reimbursements toward the $8 million it has spent dealing with the migrant crisis. Federal funding is available — all Leeser has to do is ask for it. Gov. Greg Abbott doesn’t want the crisis in his state any more than Leeser does. And getting money from the Biden administration would prove his point about the border crisis.