As Government Pulls Back, Charities Step In to Help Released Migrants


The California Department of Social Services gave the shelter $500,000, but the money could only be used for “case management,” including intake, registration and “know your rights” orientations. It could not be used for most of the shelter’s operating costs, or for transportation costs for the migrants, one of the primary needs. San Diego County has provided medical guidance and nursing and support staff.“We want to help prevent a crisis,” Mr. Malone said. “It’s been our crisis, and I’ve been telling them, soon it’s going to be yours.”Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.The city of McAllen, Tex., which has seen the largest number of migrant families during the recent surge, has contributed $517,000 since 2014 toward a relief effort run largely by Catholic Charities.In El Paso, city leaders were forced to act after federal officials made a series of unannounced nighttime releases of hundreds of migrants during Christmas week. The city officials put migrants on municipal buses to keep them warm, took them to shelter sites and coordinated the response with the local Office of Emergency Management. El Paso officials were told that none of the cost would be reimbursed by the federal government.“It’s kind of hard to ask the federal government for emergency relief when they’re creating the problem to begin with,” Dee Margo, the mayor of El Paso, said at a recent City Council meeting.Mr. Garcia, who runs Annunciation House, said that in October, for the first time since 2014 that he could remember, there were several releases of migrants onto the streets of El Paso without any coordination.“I started getting calls from the police department, and everybody and their grandmother was calling me to figure out what was going on,” he said. “I wish to God you could get into one of their offices to ask them, ‘What in the world were you thinking when you did that? What was the objective?’”