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Not in my backyard?

By Tom WrightMay 27, 2019

Recently, the City Council of Deming unanimously declared a state of emergency over the influx of migrant families being released in Deming, population of about 14,000. The county manager said about 150 a day are being released by the Border Patrol. The Albuquerque Journal reports the city-owned airport hanger is being used as an intake and screening area. Aaron Sera, Deming city administrator said, “This shouldn’t be our problem, but it is.”

Santa Fe’s progressive Democratic mayor, Alan Webber, said he was in agreement with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that Santa Fe would just send money to other places where the situation could be best dealt with. Is it that the governor and mayor, who both support social liberalism, don’t want the immigrants in Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital? I guess we really are the City Different, but we should be the city of holy faith and welcome these immigrants. Or is it that the governor and mayor had rather Las Cruces, Deming and the other cities around the state rely on agencies to house and care for these families so they will not be in their/our backyard?

Lujan Grisham, who recalled the National Guard from the border, is still reluctant to openly admit there is a real problem on the border, despite the 4,500 Border Patrol apprehensions weekly and already 500,000 in 2019. However, she did open up the state fairgrounds to the immigrants, displacing the 4H Club Horse School, which had to move to Las Cruces (“Venue change for 4-H event angers GOP,” May 15). Her response seems to deny problematic implications of this influx (some call it an invasion) of immigrants, instead playing the politically progressive ideology of open borders that asks — why do we need U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement?

What’s wrong with housing the migrants on the campus of the now defunct Santa Fe University of Art and Design? Is it too close to home? The campus is managed by the city, has dormitories with beds, a kitchen, cafeteria, running water, electricity, and the Santa Fe Police Department Traffic Unit has a midtown office there. It would be an excellent location to house a couple hundred folks.

Further, the New Mexico State Defense Force (formerly the New Mexico State Guard) is well-equipped and tasked to function as a reserve component to the National Guard. It also has its own missions to help in local communities with local groups and law enforcement agencies within the state. Is it again possible that the governor doesn’t want the expense of activating the state defense force because she spent the surplus in the last legislative session? Perhaps she had rather lay off the major expense of caring for the immigrants on local agencies that are surely operating on emergency contingency funds that likely will never be paid back by the state.

The 47th Medical Company of the New Mexico State Defense Force is a part of the Medical Reserve Corps, which has specialized training in emergency management, medical support and shelter operations. It is an excellent unit and has served the citizens of New Mexico well in the past. All New Mexico State Defense Force missions must be approved by the adjutant general before being put into action. The adjutant general serves and acts on behalf of Lujan Grisham.

With private agencies and city resources already overwhelmed in Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Deming, what is wrong with Santa Fe receiving a couple of busloads of immigrants, sometimes called asylum-seekers? While I agree this shouldn’t be our problem as they should have been stopped at the border, we now have it, and so does Webber and Lujan Grisham.

Tom Wright is a political commentator and lives in Santa Fe.

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