Artesia prepared to house immigrant families

ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – An influx of illegal immigrants coming into the United States has the federal government overwhelmed.

They’re so overwhelmed nearly 700 immigrants from drug-ridden Central American countries will soon be housed in New Mexico.

They’ll be staying in fenced barracks set up inside the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia until deportation.

The facility’s three dorms stretch 10 acres and are equipped with bunk beds, play rooms, free phone access, special infant bathrooms and even a grilling area.

“We want to show that we treat individuals with dignity and humanely,” said a Senior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Official.

ICE officials say the Artesia facility is only for women and children under the age of 17.

They say anyone with a criminal record will not be allowed.

Once the immigrants arrive, ICE officials say they will immediately be processed and given an ID band, then they will be screened by medical staff.

Doctors will examine each person within 12-hours of their arrival.

They say if anyone has a contagious or deadly disease they will immediately be quarantined.

“The community should not be concerned about their safety or well being,” said a Senior ICE official.

Officials say the undocumented families will most likely only stay in Artesia for about a week before they’re deported back to their home countries.

During that time, contracted teachers will come to the facility and teach the kids.

There will also be guards along the property at all times.

Still, some Artesian residents are uneasy.

“I don’t think anybody in Artesia is really happy about it, but the President sent them here and we have to deal with it,” said Tammi Kinnibrugh.

State Representative Candy Spence Ezzell spoke out against the facility this week saying the rooms are nice, packed with toys and encourage rather than deter immigration.

ICE officials wouldn’t say when the immigrants are expected to arrive, but people will be funneled through the facility for about a year.

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