NM rep: Facility will encourage immigrants

A car enters the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Artesia, N.M., Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Federal officials say this federal training center that is home to the Border Patrol Academy that will become a 700-bed detention center for adult immigrants who entered the country illegally and are accompanied by children. The surge in Central American unaccompanied minors and adults with minors crossing the border overcrowded facilities in South Texas and prompted the government to find new places to detain the immigrants. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)

ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) – A federal facility that will temporarily house families suspected of entering the country illegally will encourage rather than deter the flood of immigration from Central America, a New Mexico state representative said.

State Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell told the Artesia Daily Press on Tuesday that the rooms being prepared to house women and children at Artesia’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center are packed with amenities.

“I saw the rooms, and I got upset,” Ezzell said. “There were four sets of bunks in every room. These were nice rooms, with televisions, toys and books. It says to immigrants, ‘Why not try to come back, if this is what America has to offer?’”

The Republican from Roswell questioned the use of federal dollars to house the immigrants at a time when veterans aren’t getting proper health care.

Ezzell and other elected officials from southeastern New Mexico toured the center. Officials are preparing the facility to hold around 700 people while they are processed for deportation.

Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 52,000 immigrant children crossing the border alone since October. Most are from Central America and have been caught in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Ezzell said she’s encouraging residents to speak out about the facility.

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