The Latest: Medical unit to help migrants in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on migrants being housed in New Mexico (all times local):
The New Mexico Department of Health has sent a mobile medical unit to the border community of Las Cruces to help with health assessments for migrants being temporarily housed at shelters around the city.
Officials say the unit is outfitted with equipment to check vitals and assess whether any of the migrants are dehydrated or need additional care.
Deputy Health Secretary Abinash Achrekar tells The Associated Press that he’s hopeful the roving unit will provide another option for care. He’s also working to address liability issues for providers who are interested in volunteering.
Asylum-seeking migrants are being housed at faith-based shelters in the Las Cruces area and now at hotels in Albuquerque before being sent around the country to stay with family or sponsors as they await formal hearings.
Doctors in the Las Cruces area say they have been treating migrants since 2014 but that the volume of people coming into the community has increased significantly in the last several weeks.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller says hundreds of migrants from Central America and Brazil are expected to arrive in the city in the coming weeks and volunteers are preparing.
Keller said Wednesday if the city runs out of temporary housing, he’ll open up his own home.
The mayor told reporters that federal immigration officials have notified New Mexico’s largest city that migrants seeking asylum will be arriving soon but no dates have been set. Recently, Albuquerque played host to around 300 asylum seekers who stayed in hotels before continuing their journeys.
Keller says the city is seeking medical volunteers and faith-based groups are ready to provide temporary housing when needed.
Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester says the migrant crisis was a “spiritual reality” that has come to Albuquerque.