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Immigration Law

Detention center brings immigration debate to small-town New Mexico

"Unprepared for thousands of parents with children who entered the country illegally, immigration officials parceled out a portion of the federal law enforcement training facility in Artesia to use as a detention center for about 600 women and children, most of them from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.  Although more than 280 women and children have been deported, hundreds more remain as they wait for immigration hearings or to be returned to their native countries.  The new arrivals have sparked controversy in this mostly conservative town, where a statue of an oil pump is the centerpiece in a downtown park. Some say the strangers' detentions have divided neighbors, inconvenienced new mothers looking for baby formula and touched off heated arguments during history class at the high school.  Whether people think the outsiders should stay or go, most in town seem to agree that rumors surrounding the facility have been fueled by a lack of information from federal officials about the center and its operation.  Which helps explain why the arrival of football season is so welcome." - Cindy Carcamo, L.A. Times, Sept. 14, 2014.