With Election Day 2022 just three weeks away, the White House has reportedly been leaning on El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, asking the Democrat not to declare a state of emergency in response to a massive influx of illegal immigrants.
This coming from Leeser himself, according to a member of the El Paso city council.
“He told me the White House asked him not to,” Councilmember Claudia Rodriguez told the New York Post, explaining that she spoke with the mayor in a private phone call.
The reason behind the request being, according to the Post, not to make President Biden look bad — which subsequently makes the Democratic Party look bad.
Rodriguez said Leeser assured her that he would declare a state of emergency “if things got worse,” without offering any context on what would qualify as “worse.”
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the newspaper reported that at least three of the El Paso City Council’s eight members have urged the mayor to issue an emergency declaration in response to city shelters filling to the brim with thousands of illegal immigrants and local hotels being used to house the overflow.
“We are at a breaking point and we must declare a state of emergency,” Rodriguez said in September, according to the El Paso Times. “Only the mayor or the county judge can issue the declaration and so we have written a letter to Mayor Leeser imploring him to issue the disaster declaration.”
Citing two other members, the newspaper reported that “more than 125 city staff members, police officers, and firefighters are being used for migrant services,” and that there was concern about how this was impacting first responders’ efforts to help city residents.
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, told the Post that he heard about the White House request from other city officials and that they have done “the same thing in other parts of my district.”
“It is a sleight of hand what the administration is doing — pressuring the local government to not issue a declaration of emergency, to say as if everything is going OK,” said the congressman, whose district covers rural areas and border towns near El Paso.
Playing the role of a stoic leader, Mayor Leeser said in a statement, “I don’t bow to pressure from any side. I make decisions based on current circumstances and in the best interest of the citizens of El Paso.”
Somewhat ironically, the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed last month to provide advance funding to the city, which included reimbursement for nearly $500,000 spent earlier in the year, the Times reported, noting that U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, played a key role in brokering the financial arrangement. Citing the city’s website, the Post reported that $8 million has been spent on the migrant crisis, with only $2 million in federal reimbursements being received.
Leeser reportedly mentioned Escobar during a Sept. 27 city council meeting, saying she urged him not to declare a state of emergency.
“The White House has asked, at this point, for us not to do that and they’ll continue to work with us and continue to give us … money through [the] Federal Emergency Management Agency,” he said.
Quid pro quo? Seems we impeach presidents over things like that these days.
El Paso has bussed more than 10,000 migrants to New York City since August and Mayor Eric Adams has already declared a state of emergency in the Big Apple. Leeser said at a public meeting last month that he got a green light from Adams to send the migrants — Mayor Adams has denied that he gave the okay.
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