The situation on the southern border has reached a breaking point, as the increased influx of migrant families from Central America continues to cross the border illegally into the states of New Mexico and Texas. Officials from Las Cruces, New Mexico reported on Monday, April 22, that Border Patrol agents have released nearly 1,600 migrants into their community over the past 10 days. As a result, the city has been forced to spend about $75,000 on humanitarian assistance, KVIA reported.
On Saturday, officials said that Border Patrol agents had dropped off 105 “asylum seekers” at a local high school, followed by another 56 the next day. Since April 12, Border Patrol has been releasing the illegal immigrants apprehended in the El Paso sector.
In response to this, the city established a network of temporary shelters to house the asylum-seekers while they attempt to arrange to travel elsewhere in the United States, the Las Cruces Sun News reported. The Mayor, Ken Miyagishima, told the local newspaper that these Central American migrants move in and out and quickly find sponsors in other cities. He stated that out of the incoming migrants, some “75 percent are gone” and that the city provides resources to about 250 at any given time. He also said that he has made arrangements with Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to accept more migrants on a rotating basis.
Meanwhile, outside of the city in neighboring Otero county, a state of emergency was declared by its local government, which called on the state’s governor to redeploy the National Guard so that Border Patrol agents can re-open interior checkpoints, reported the El Paso Times.
Late last month, the former Secretary of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielson announced that at least 750 CBP officers from the international bridges would be reassigned to help with the processing of asylum seekers in the United States. But Border Patrol officers being reassigned away from checkpoints and ports of entry has caused concerns that there will be less enforcement of border security since most drugs are smuggled into the country through already understaffed ports of entry. As a result of this, Border Patrol executives have shut down some checkpoints along the border.
Even as President Trump ordered an additional 3,750 military forces to the southwestern border to help deal with the problem, the Governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered the removal of most of her state’s National Guard troops from border security assistance missions, Breitbart News reported.
The Democrat governor stated, “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.”
Local community officials appear to disagree with their state governor, as the emergency declaration had passed the commissioners court with a unanimous vote. These recent local dynamics at the border highlight a significant part of the broader national debate on illegal immigration under the Trump administration.