Over 10,000 asylum seekers pass through Deming

DEMING – On a cold and rainy day in May, the U.S. Border Patrol detention facility was at maximum capacity and could no longer hold surrendered migrants. Agents transported 150 migrants to the McDonald’s restaurant in Deming, New Mexico. The migrants – mostly from Central America – were seeking asylum in the U.S. and had nowhere to turn.

Santa Ana Catholic Church stepped up in a bold humanitarian effort to bring the migrants to the church and provided shelter, food and clothing until city and county officials could devise a plan to shelter the impending influx of more migrants.

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A plan was put into place that provided shelter and every-day amenities to keep the asylum seekers from roaming streets of the city. The plan also provided volunteers who assisted the migrants in reaching sponsors and family members across the country.

Over a five-month period, close to 10,000 migrants passed through the Deming Migrant Relief Facility at the Southwestern New Mexico State Fairgrounds and the Deming National Guard Armory.

Santa Ana was many churches who volunteered help during the humanitarian emergency. Fr. Manuel Ibarra and church volunteers opened the doors of the Santa Ana Parish Center at 400 S. Ruby St. to accommodate the masses.

Now, the church will pay it forward by distributing leftover clothing items to the community. These clothing items were donated by the community and local retailers and will be handed out to all who attended two dates for collection.

The distribution will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the parish center (400 S. Ruby St.). Clothing and shoes will be available for adults and children of all ages.

Helping with the clothing distribution is Colores United – a community charitable organization.

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Deming and Luna County officials quickly set up the fairgrounds and an old Army airbase hangar to contain the influx of migrants pouring into the city. Officials and volunteers were worked into a frenzy as they figured out structural plans and tending to the needs of asylum. Asylees were then relocated to the armory on July 5.

The City of Deming approved a resolution that allocated $1 million in funding for sheltering migrant asylum seekers on May 27. Both city and Luna County split $500,000 that came from an emergency fund allocated by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. In September, the Governor awarded the state’s first-ever Humanitarian Award recognizing the city and county combined effort.

In June, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland and Xochitl Torres Small secured $30 million in reimbursement funds for localities and non-governmental organizations in New Mexico that provide relief to asylum seekers as part of a $4.6 billion border aid package passed by Congress.

On Tuesday, September 17, Heinrich along with sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency demanding that localities and non-government organizations in New Mexico be adequately reimbursed by an Emergency Food and Shelter Program for costs incurred providing humanitarian relief to asylum seekers.

Heinrich visited the Deming facility back on October.

Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-546-2611 (ext. 2606) or [email protected].

Clothing distribution

Santa Ana Catholic Church & Colores United

Community Clothing Distribution

Free clothing for our community

Adult, children clothing and shoes

First-come, first-serve basis

Monday, Dec. 2: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 3: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Santa Ana Parish Hall, 400 S. Ruby St., Deming, NM

En Español

Distribución de ropa

Ropa gratis para nuestra comunidad

Ropa para adultos y niños.

Se dara preferncia como vayan llegando

Lunes 2 de diciembre: 10 a.m. a 5 p.m.

Martes 3 de diciembre: 10 a.m. a 2 p.m.

Lugar: Salón Parroquial de Santa Ana, 400 S. Ruby St., Deming, NM

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