Deming City Council members in New Mexico voted Monday to declare a state of emergency that they hope will reach the governor’s office in Santa Fe.
Monday’s City Council meeting tackled a busy agenda in the chambers of the John Strand Municipal Building, but the attention peaked at the conclusion of the meeting when City Administrator Aaron Sera shed light on the weekend influx of immigrants that were released in Deming by the United States Border Patrol.
At last count, 170 immigrants – all from Central America – have been released in Deming from Border Patrol units in El Paso, TX and Antelope Wells, NM.
“The Border Patrol doesn’t care,” Sera said during his update on the situation. “They’re going to dump them wherever.”
The number of immigrants claiming asylum is well over 100 with more coming in daily. Sera was told by the Border Patrol the number could reach as many as 600 in days to come.
Sera said the city and Luna County government is working jointly to get these families and children to sponsors located in all parts of the United States.
Luna County Manager David McSherry was in attendance and chimed in with his take on what he called “asylum seekers.”
“The Lordsburg Border Patrol Station dropped off 44 today and the Deming station left another 50. This is not a Republican or Democrat problem. Call your representatives and let them know we have a problem.”
City and county officials, along with local organizations and volunteers have been providing around-the-clock vigilance at the Southwestern New Mexico State Fairgrounds where the immigrant population is being held. There are as many as 150 people on watch and providing aid in the form of food items, personal hygiene, towels, blankets and toys for children. The Deming Fire Department is assisting in medical screenings and there have been no known issues with the health of immigrants.
“All families have sponsors and we are communicating with those sponsors to get them transported,” Sera said. “Laptops are in use to locate sponsors.”
The sponsor of one family of four could not afford travel which amounted to $500. Locals came together and made the trip possible.
“This shouldn’t be our problem, but it is,” Sera said. The option would have been to let the waves on immigrants on the streets of Deming but Sera could not see that with the children involved.
Local officials know a crisis is at hand with more immigrant arrivals anticipated in the days to come. The fairgrounds can only hold 100 at a time.
Local churches have provided assistance and Las Cruces is planning to assist in speeding up the process of relocating the immigrants to their sponsors.
Council member Joe “Butter” Milo motioned to declare the city in a state of emergency. Council member Roxana Rincon second the motion and the vote was unanimous.
© 2019 The Deming Headlight (Deming, N.M.)
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