ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – President Barack Obama is asking for more than $3.5 billion to deal with the surge of undocumented immigrants crossing the border.
It’s a problem some are calling a humanitarian crisis.
“It’s a spike in traffic we haven’t seen,” Rep. Steve Pearce said.
Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, many children from Central America, are crossing into the states and being detained.
Recently, the town of Artesia and its Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, was dubbed a temporary holding facility for undocumented families. At least 200 people are now there awaiting deportation.
Tuesday, the White House asked Congress for $3.7 billion to cope with costs.
“If the law were being enforced, this problem wouldn’t be nearly the scope that it is,” Pearce, the Republican Congressman said.
Pearce, along with Democratic Senator Tom Udall, say the state and its people can’t afford to bear the weight.
“I do not think any local community needs to get stuck with bills to pay for the federal government doing this so we need to fund these camps where these people are being held,” Pearce said.
Pearce, who also serves on a seven member committee just recently formed to deal with this problem, works with the President’s administration on funding border issues.
The money would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, Justice and Homeland Security -all to expand facilities, provide care and bring in more judges to get those people back to where they came from.
Roughly $879 million would go towards detention and removal.
But Pearce said this is just a band-aid on a big wound.
“In the long term, what is the President’s plan to stop the problem from occurring?” Pearce asked. “That’s basically the biggest discussion we need to be having along with this funding request.”
Udall said the potential funding will help but both agree that politics need to be put aside for lasting change.
“It’s crucial that we provide safe, secure and humane care to these children and families in the government’s custody, ” U.S. Senator, democrat Martin Heinrich told KRQE News 13.
The facility in Artesia is expected to house up to 700 people.
Catholic Charities is helping the children and families involved in the border crisis. The organization is will be sending donated funds to the Las Cruces and El Paso diocese to buy much needed items.
If you would like to help, send a check to “Catholic Charities” or you can donate online.