A county in New Mexico has voted to implement a state of emergency and called on the governor to act in the overwhelming influx of migrants.
Otero County commissioners cited the immigration crisis on the southern border in their unanimous state of emergency declaration, calling on urgent action from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to send the National Guard or else face a lawsuit.
Commissioners requested National Guard personnel deploy to the county of 63,000 residents in order for Border Patrol agents to return to their posts at key checkpoints.
“Because of the crisis at the Mexican border, the Border Patrol officers who staff the highway checkpoints on U.S. 70 near the White Sands National Monument and U.S. 54 near Orogrande have been reassigned and the border checkpoints closed. This means that drug traffickers and illegal aliens can enter Otero County freely,” the resolution says.
— KOB 4 (@KOB4) April 19, 2019
Commissioners are giving the governor one week to act before they consider pursuing a lawsuit.
“Otero County will also consider litigation in regards to the State of New Mexico failing to follow its constitutional duties towards the people of Otero County,” County Commission Chairman Couy Griffin said at the meeting.
In February, Gov. Lujan Grisham ordered the withdrawal of 118 National Guard troops deployed to the southern border about a year earlier as a result of President Donald Trump’s push for a stronger guardsmen presence at the border.
Only 11 to 15 guardsmen were ordered to remain in place at the border. The governor also told the New Mexico National Guard to “immediately assess whether an augmented presence in the southwestern part of the state is needed.”
Otero County’s new declaration comes just two days after the border city of Yuma, Ariz. declared its own state of emergency due to the rising influx of migrants to their region.
Yuma’s emergency was declared after Border Patrol released some 1,300 migrants in a span of just three weeks in the city of approximately 100,000, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
“I had to do something to change the discussion and to change the posture, to get more resources or get the situation resolved in one manner or another,” Mayor Douglas Nicholls told the Wall Street Journal.
“Mayor: Migrants being released into the community faster than they are departing, and shelters and the staff to run them are at max capacity. A state of emergency is declared,” the town’s Twitter account posted on Tuesday.
Mayor: Migrants being released into the community faster than they are departing, and shelters and the staff to run them are at max capacity. A state of emergency is declared.
— City of Yuma (@cityofyuma) April 16, 2019
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed last month that the number of immigrants apprehended by border patrol officials has been increasing exponentially, and is on pace to reach one million by the end of the year.
Detention centers are at overwhelming capacity, with a significant rise of illegal immigrant apprehensions month over month in 2019, causing thousands of migrants to be released in U.S. cities while awaiting asylum hearings.