The small and isolated desert town of Artesia, New Mexico has recently become the home of a federal immigration detention center that includes such amenities as a soccer field, a basketball court, and video conferencing capabilities for detainees to have their cases heard by immigration judges in Denver, Colorado. The facility also included several trailers that have been put in place around the main building to serve as a makeshift school because the center itself is intended to serve as temporary housing specifically for women and children from Central American countries who have been crossing the Mexican desert and coming into the United States illegally.
Center Will Likely Stay Open Well Into 2015
According to Border Patrol officials, the detention center is likely to remain open at least until the summer of 2015. One official told reporters that while the majority of Americans and government officials would like to see the facility done away with, the ongoing influx of illegal immigrants from Central America is making it a necessity and as such it will probably be up and running through August of next year.
There have been reports recently that frustration among the detainees at the Artesia Family Residential Center has been mounting because they are beginning to feel as though their “incarceration” is indefinite. Those sentiments are compounded by the fact that migrants who crossed the border into the country prior to the facility being set up have already been released and have been ordered to make contact with immigration officials at a later date.
The facility was coordinated and set up in response to the overwhelming numbers of migrants from Central American countries who have been crossing the US-Mexico border over the last several months. Federal officials came to the realization that the majority of the individuals and families who crossed into the United States simply vanished into the country and failed to report for their scheduled meetings with officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). There are no official numbers yet but one ICE agent estimated that as many as 70 percent of those who were released into the country have simply disappeared.
Facility Considered ‘Effective and Humane’
The agent went on to explain that contrary to what many of the detainees at Artesia may think, their ongoing detention at the facility is not of a punitive nature and is not intended to be viewed as a deterrent for other Central American immigrants who might be considering coming into the United States illegally. According to the Citizenship and Immigration Service, fewer than 38 percent of the detainees at Artesia qualify for asylum which is a far cry from the national average of nearly 63 percent. Nevertheless, officials say that the frustration of the detainees is somewhat unwarranted because despite the fact that over 500 women and children are housed there at any given time, it is being run in an “effective and humane” manner, especially considering that there has been such an unprecedented and overwhelming influx of migrants crossing the southern border into the US.
If you or someone you know is in need of legal counsel regarding an immigration issue, please contact the immigration attorney at the Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas or call their offices at 512-215-5225.