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Illegal immigrants force school to lock down multiple times

A Border Patrol agent looks over some trails at Otay Mountain in San Diego on June 8, 2021. (Alejandro Tamayo/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
April 06, 2024

A middle school in New Mexico was forced under lockdown twice within the same week as illegal immigrants entered school property to avoid being arrested by United States Border Patrol agents.

Gadsden Independent School District Superintendent Travis Dempsey told KFOX14 that Santa Teresa Middle School was forced to enter secure mode twice due to illegal immigrants entering the property. The superintendent noted that the first lockdown took place on March 20 and the second lockdown occurred on March 27. Dempsey explained that the second incident forced the school to enter lockdown for roughly 20 minutes before Border patrol agents arrested six illegal immigrants.

“It is concerning and it does at some level interrupt our educational process when we do things of this nature,” Dempsey told KFOX14.

Maria Gallegos, a parent of one of the middle school students, expressed the community’s concerns following the two lockdown incidents. Gallegos told KFOX14, “We’re a little nervous because with the fear and nerves migrants have of being caught by immigration officials, we don’t know if they’d do something to our students.”

In a statement obtained by KFOX14, the El Paso Border Patrol confirmed that six illegal immigrants were arrested “outside” of the Santa Teresa Middle School on March 27. The El Paso Border Patrol explained that it was “common” for Border Patrol agents to “receive calls from the community” near the school given the “proximity of the border.”

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“During the early hours of March 27th, U.S. Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Santa Teresa Station apprehended a group of six migrants outside of the Santa Teresa Middle School. Agents were able to locate the individuals after being advised by another law enforcement agency on site,” the El Paso Border Patrol stated. “The Santa Teresa Middle School was temporarily placed on a secure status as a precautionary measure when they observed our agents and other law enforcement in the school’s proximity.”

Refugio Corrales, a Customs and Border Patrol spokesperson, told KFOX14 that illegal immigrants are often found attempting to avoid being arrested by Border Patrol officials in the Santa Teresa and Sunland Park region.

“The Santa Teresa Middle School is one of the areas where these migrants jump into without thinking of where they’re going through because they’re trying to evade arrest,” Corrales said.