ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – Friday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia where more than 400 illegal immigrants are being detained.
Johnson had a message for them.
“Our border is not open to illegal migration,” said Johnson.
In 2014, more than 50,000 undocumented children from drug-ridden Central American countries have crossed into the United States illegally.
According to the law, children from anywhere other than Canada or Mexico can’t be immediately deported.
They have to be taken into U.S. custody first.
“Our policy and direction is to send these people back consistent with our laws as quickly as possible in a safe manner,” said Johnson.
The Artesia facility started taking people in late June.
Now 400 women and children are there and more are expected to come Friday night.
Officials say most of the immigrants will be deported, some as soon as next week.
“This facility represents the proof that we intend to and we will send people back who come into the Rio Grande Valley sector illegally,” said Johnson.
However, Johnson says the crisis is nowhere from being over.
The federal government says they need more housing for the immigrants and if they don’t have a place to keep them they could be released awaiting deportation.
The President is asking for $3.7 billion to open more detention centers and hire more immigration judges.
Johnson says staff at the Artesia facility told him many of the immigrants there were surprised they were being detained.
He says a majority of them expected to be free once they made it into the U.S.