Officials in Las Cruces, New Mexico, reported on Monday that Border Patrol agents released nearly 1,600 migrants in their community over a 10-day period. The City was forced to spend about $75,000 for humanitarian assistance.
Officials said that Border Patrol agents dropped off 105 “asylum seekers” on Saturday to a local high school. Agents dropped off another 56 on Sunday morning, KVIA ABC7 reported Monday morning.
Border Patrol officials began releasing migrants apprehended in the El Paso Sector on April 12, the El Paso ABC affiliate reported. The releases come as the sector reached the breaking point with thousands of Central American migrant families crossing the border illegally in West Texas and the New Mexico boot heel.
The City of Las Cruces responded by setting up a network of temporary shelters to house the “asylum seekers” while they attempt to arrange travel to other parts of the U.S., the Las Cruces Sun News reported. Nearly 1,200 were dropped off by Border Patrol agents during the first week alone.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima told the local newspaper that most of the migrants move out quickly. He said, “75 percent are gone.” He explained the City is providing resources to about 250 people at any given time.
The mayor made arrangements with Santa Fe and Albuquerque to take the migrants on a rotating basis.
“It looks like they’ll be taking some. We just need to figure out transportation,” the mayor told the local newspaper.
We could easily handle 200, but not 200 a day,” the mayor explained. “That’s why I’m thinking if Sanda Fe can do 150 to 200 every three days, I think it is more manageable.”
New Mexico Homeland Security Department officials told the El Paso television station they expect more “asylum seekers” to continue being dropped off in Las Cruces “for several more weeks.”
In the meantime, county officials in neighboring Otero County declared a state of emergency and called on the New Mexico governor to re-deploy the National Guard to so that Border Patrol agents can re-open interior checkpoints, the El Paso Times reported. In March, Border Patrol officials temporarily shut down the interior checkpoints where agents routinely find drugs and “human cargo” being smuggled to the nation’s interior cities from the border region.
“If this demand is not met by the State of New Mexico in one week’s time, the County of Otero will take action itself to provide security and safety and well-being for the people in this county,” Otero County Commission Chairman Couy Griffin said in a statement. “Otero County will also consider litigation in regards to the State of New Mexico failing to follow its constitutional duties towards the people of Otero County.”
In February, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered the removal of most of her state’s National Guard troops from border security assistance missions, Breitbart News reported. This action, combined with the ever-increasing surge of Central American migrants in the region, forced Border Patrol executives to shut down the checkpoints in order to move resources to the border for processing, caring for, and transporting the migrants.
“I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the southern border, along which are some of the safest communities in the country. However, I recognize and appreciate the legitimate concerns of residents and officials in southwestern New Mexico, particularly Hidalgo County, who have asked for our assistance, as migrants and asylum-seekers continue to appear at their doorstep,” the governor said.
Otero County officials appear to disagree. The declaration of emergency passed the commissioners court with a unanimous vote.