Migrants sheltered in buses after ICE left them at station in El Paso, police say

Dozens of migrants were sheltered in buses on Sunday night after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) dropped them off at a Greyhound station in El Paso, Texas, local police told CNN on Monday. 

ICE dropped off a group of about 200 migrants at the Greyhound station without warning nearby shelters, volunteers told El Paso Times.

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Several buses from El Paso's local transit agency arrived on Sunday night for the migrants to board as they waited at the station, which was too small to hold all of them, according to local reports

"We weren't going to put 200 people on the streets of El Paso on a cold night," Sgt. Robert Gomez, spokesman with the El Paso Police Department, told CNN. "We wouldn't do that." 

Officials at the bus terminal told El Paso police about the crowd of 211 people on Sunday evening, saying individuals were seeking to board buses without tickets, according to CNN. 

"All of a sudden a bunch of people show up," Greyhound spokeswoman Crystal Booker told CNN. "We weren't expecting it. We are not given prior notice."  

Local activists have rallied around the group of migrants, seeking to bring them to shelters and get them the supplies they need, according to El Paso Times.

Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeCory Booker releases 10 years of tax returns Buttigieg gets first congressional endorsement O'Rourke to give commencement address at Texas's oldest black college MORE (D-Texas), who is reportedly eyeing a bid for the presidency in 2020, was on hand to meet some of the migrants released by ICE.

He also tweeted during the day, encouraging people to assist the migrants.

"Hundreds of migrant families released onto the streets of El Paso on Christmas Eve, without food, money or help. ICE says more will be released tomorrow and following day," O'Rourke tweeted on Monday. He attached a link to a local shelter that is currently seeking to house the migrants, Annunciation House. 

O'Rourke asked locals to drop off fruits and meals for the migrant families, which include small children.

An email to ICE from The Hill bounced back with an automatic message saying ICE's public affairs officers are out of the office due to the partial government shutdown. 

"We are unable to respond to media queries during this period because we are prohibited by law from working," the email reads.  

Updated on Dec. 25 at 6:20 a.m.