Pleasanton Mayor Travis Hall, City Manager Johnny Huizar, EMC Philip Glass and Police Chief Ronald Sanchez held a conference call this evening with Ben Miranda, Director of Operational Impact & Outreach for Endeavors, regarding the migrant families coming to Atascosa County.
Many questions and concerns arose within the community on Wednesday after a Declaration of Local Disaster was released by Atascosa County Judge Bob Hurley regarding illegal immigrants coming to the county. Many social media posts then surfaced that these immigrants were going to be housed in the Microtel Motel in Pleasanton through the efforts and monies of the government.
Mayor Hall specifically wanted to know why the City of Pleasanton wasn’t notified, what Endeavors was all about, and if the city would need to put forth any security, expenses and how long the migrants would be staying in town.
“What we’re doing in Pleasanton, we answered the call to request for assistance and response with the issues at the border from the Department of Homeland Security,” said Miranda, who further explained that as Endeavors is on a contract with ICE and he could not speak on their behalf, he was unsure as to why the city was not made aware. “We will offer a humane and wholistic migrant process for families and vulnerable individuals in a COVID-protected environment, critical to preventing the spread of COVID to the general population.”
Endeavors is a nonprofit organization headquartered out of San Antonio. They have provided essential services to vulnerable populations for more than 50 years. Services offered include supporting veterans, mental health and wellness, homelessness, children, migrant families and people struggling to overcome mental illness, disabilities, disasters or emergencies. Through their Migrant Services programs, they provide direct care, migrant wellness support, case management, home study and post-release services, staffing and holistic programming for unaccompanied migrant children and families since 2012. They help migrant families who are seeking protection from the persecution and deteriorating social and economic conditions in their home countries.
Miranda emphasized that all migrants are families that include one or two parents with small children, no individuals. He further stated that little to no city resources will be used as Endeavor will be providing all services onsite at the hotel, including:
- a rapid COVID-19 test
- lodging for all families
- three meals per person per day
- specific cleaning/hyper-sanitation
- hygiene kits
- laundry pick-up/delivery
- intake services including legal and cultural orientations
- medical and mental health triage
- transportation services to their final destinations
- private security detail
All migrants will be detained to the hotel at all times, unless an emergency causes them to be taken to a medical facility in which case, they will be escorted at all times by an Endeavor support staff. They will not be released at any time to the general population until they reach their final destination. Migrants will be held at the Microtel Motel in Pleasanton for no more than 72 hours unless a medical emergency such as COVID-19 keeps them longer. Should a migrant test positive for COVID-19, Endeavor will follow all CDC protocols and follow proper quarantine procedures at the hotel. Once the 72 hours is up, migrant families will be transported by Endeavor to either the San Antonio Airport or a bus depot in San Antonio in order to reach their final destination. They will not be released into the Atascosa County community.
“I appreciate Endeavors for giving us a call so that we can get the truthful, factual information out to the public. It sounds like they are a professional organization, and we truly appreciate their efforts to work with us,” said Mayor Hall. “If there is anything the city can do to help [Endeavors], we will do our best. We want to make sure that these folks have a pleasant stay here. We welcome them and want them to know that we are a hospitable community.”
Pleasanton EMC Philip Glass will be working directly with Miranda and the Endeavor staff leading up to and during the migrant families’ stay in Pleasanton. At this time, there is no finalized date as to when they will be in town, but the City of Pleasanton will stay in direct contact with Endeavors, ICE and the Pleasanton Express throughout the process.