NM town to hold hundreds of undocumented families

ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico will soon be the next stop for many families with children who have come into the states illegally.

The move comes on the heels after a surge of illegal immigrants being stopped at the border on their way from Central America.

According to Congressman Steve Pearce, a humanitarian crisis is spilling into New Mexico.

“It’s pretty sudden,” Pearce said. “It’s just an indication of sort of the haphazard nature of what’s going on.”

He’s talking about a wave of illegal immigrants being detained at the border, but that’s not what’s sudden.

What’s sudden is the fact that the feds will soon move men, women and children to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia.

“It would be sooner rather than later,” Pearce said. “In other words, weeks not months and maybe days not weeks.”

The Department of Homeland Security says many are coming from Central America with false promises of citizenship. Many are unaccompanied children, but in Artesia, the center will only take families. They’re preparing to take on a lot of them.

“It appears that they have the intent to send about 700 men and women,” Pearce said.

Pearce says border patrol officers and facilities are simply overwhelmed.

“They’re really in a bind,” he said.

In Artesia, Pearce says the families will be held on the edge of town, away from the training center’s main campus.

“Not much chance to mix with the local population, not much chance of any danger to anyone,” Pearce said.

The representative says he’s been told that everyone who stops through will be deported back to their home country. He says that should take about a week to 10 days per person and they would continue cycling families through for about a year.

Pearce, along with both of the New Mexico’s U.S. senators, say politics have got to be put aside so that the problems along the border can be fixed once and for all.

The feds will run the operation out of Artesia. It’s unclear what the cost will be.

Pearce says the news comes suddenly and he would’ve liked a bit more notice.

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