McAllen mayor speaks out about immigration crisis
A Rio Grande Valley mayor is getting both praise and criticism for his city's role in the immigration crisis.
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling admits that not everyone supports him using taxpayer dollars on humanitarian relief efforts for undocumented families traveling from the city.
But Darling is setting the record straight in a rare one-on-one interview.
The mayor expects to spend upwards of half a million dollars on humanitarian services for undocumented families in McAllen by the end of the year.
"We think we're performing an extension of this immigration process because when people come out of CBP and border patrol and ice and are dropped off at the bus station they're in pretty bad shape, Darling said.
The city provides food, shelter, showers and simple medicine for migrants heading north while waiting for an immigration hearing.
They're services currently paid for by taxpayer dollars.
"We provide transportation, some security and some of the equipment like the restroom facility and shower facility, Darling said. We also provide transportation to and from the bus station."
City workers helping with the relief efforts are pulled from performing normal daily duties.
Mayor Darling admits it's putting a strain on the functionality of the city.
"We're handling this like a hurricane if you will from a reimbursement standpoint, Darling said. So we can keep track of all of that."
But with no legislative measure approved yet, federal reimbursement plans for border city's like McAllen remain up in the air.
The mayor says the city will continue assisting catholic charities with relief efforts but he's reevaluating their level of commitment on a weekly basis.
"We're looking at several aspects of that sustainability, Darling said. The volunteer physicians and those people who help, we're concerned this can't go on forever from that standpoint. And certainly from a taxpayer standpoint it's not fair."
It's the reality for this border city thrust into the immigration crisis.