El Paso International Airport is facing challenges due to the increasing number of migrants waiting for their flights. New rules have resulted in these migrants gathering in the baggage claim and ticket counters areas.
As a result, the airport has experienced congestion, with limited seating capacity for the high volume of passengers.
The migrants at the airport are in the country legally and have undergone vetting by US immigration officials.
They carry red folders containing their important documents. Most of them are asylum seekers who are awaiting court decisions on their asylum claims, a process that can take several years.
The lack of internet access for many migrants has led to an increase in ticket counter sales.
Some migrants approach the ticket counters to pay for their flights or inquire about prices, causing delays for other passengers who are simply checking their luggage.
To address the issue of migrants using cash for purchasing tickets, special machines have been installed at the airport.
These machines allow migrants to insert paper money, which is then exchanged for a credit card that can be used to purchase airfare.
While the exact number of migrants flying out of El Paso International Airport is unknown, the city and airlines do not track this information.
However, the volume of migrants has created a bottleneck at the airport, with more passengers than available flights.
To ease the situation and facilitate the movement of migrants, local leaders in El Paso have plans to transport them via buses to nearby cities with larger airports.
This would enable migrants to connect more easily with flights and reach their final destinations. Federal funds have been allocated to support these transportation efforts.
The challenges faced by El Paso International Airport highlight the ongoing complexities of the migrant crisis and the need for coordination between authorities, airlines, and local communities to manage the situation effectively.