Billy Armendariz, Deming Headlight, May 14, 2019
City Council members voted Monday to declare a state of emergency that they hope will reach the governor’s office in Santa Fe.
Monday’s City Council meeting tackled a busy agenda in the chambers of the John Strand Municipal Building, but the attention peaked at the conclusion of the meeting when City Administrator Aaron Sera shed light on the weekend influx of immigrants that were released in Deming by the United States Border Patrol.
At last count, 170 immigrants – all from Central America – have been released in Deming from Border Patrol units in El Paso, TX and Antelope Wells, NM.
The number of immigrants claiming asylum is well over 100 with more coming in daily. Sera was told by the Border Patrol the number could reach as many as 600 in days to come.
City and county officials, along with local organizations and volunteers have been providing around-the-clock vigilance at the Southwestern New Mexico State Fairgrounds where the immigrant population is being held. There are as many as 150 people on watch and providing aid in the form of food items, personal hygiene, towels, blankets and toys for children. The Deming Fire Department is assisting in medical screenings and there have been no known issues with the health of immigrants.
“This shouldn’t be our problem, but it is,” Sera said. The option would have been to let the waves on immigrants on the streets of Deming but Sera could not see that with the children involved.
Local officials know a crisis is at hand with more immigrant arrivals anticipated in the days to come. The fairgrounds can only hold 100 at a time.