Surge in Unaccompanied Children Crossing Border, Hundreds Sheltered in South New Mexico

Surge in Unaccompanied Children Crossing Border, Hundreds Sheltered in South New Mexico

By Alicia Neaves

NewsWest 9


ARTESIA - A surge of unaccompanied minors, and women crossing the border from Central America, has been deemed the most recent humanitarian crisis. Now, shelters are overcrowded, causing many to be transported to any facilities that have room. One of which, is in Artesia, New Mexico.


More than 50,000 unaccompanied children have made the trek from Central America to the United States.


"The facilities at the border are just bursting at the seams. Too many people coming and they've got to find locations for them," Congressman of the 2nd District of New Mexico, Steve Pearce, said.


Locations, such as the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia.


"It seems to be a matter of convencience. A matter of available facilities. And that's the looking nationwide," Pearce said.


The facility will only house women and children, with the intent to try and keep the family structure together.


Congressman Pearce says he's not certain if undocumented immigrants have been sheltered in Artesia before, but after their arrival, he wondered, will they interfere with trainees at the FLETC facility?


The answer, he found, was no. They will be housed in a separate part of the large campus.

So what will happen to these families, and the children who came alone? Immigration lawyer, Daniel Caudillo, says deportation of Central Americans doesn't happen as easily as it does with Mexican or Canadian nationals. These minors take the months-long journey to seek amnesty.


"A lot of them lose many friends along the way. A lot of these young women that are 12, 13 years old when they get to the United States are now pregnant by rapes they incur along the way," Caudillo said.


They are escaping the gang violence. For example, Honduras has the most murders per capita in the world.

"Gang recruitment in Central America means, you join my gang or I kill you. And that's the end of it," Caudillo said.


Congressman Pearce says what needs to happen is a total immigration reform.


"If that's the outcome, then I think we will have learned from this exercise. If we avoid doing that, this is going to be one more humanitarian crisis developing from bad policies that originates in Washington," Pearce said.


While many think the surge is in attempts to be granted citizenship via deferred action, Caudillo disagrees completely.


"That absolutely has nothing with this influx of younger, unaccompanied miners basically because in order to be eligible for that, you had to have been in the country before 2007," Caudillo said.