Officials confirm no asylum seekers have stayed at Expo New Mexico so far

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In April, Expo New Mexico announced it was making room to house dozens of asylum seekers traveling through the state, but KRQE News 13 has learned not one person has stayed there.

Each week, anywhere from 150-250 asylum seekers come to Albuquerque. So, last month Albuquerque city council approved $250,000 to help them.

“That money will go to non-profit agencies that are already doing the work,” Council President Ken Sanchez said.

The state also saw the perfect opportunity for it to help those non-profit organizations save money.

“Right now, many of these groups host asylum seekers at hotels and places of worship, and so as great as that is for right now, it’s not something that is sustainable. It’s very costly for these groups,” Mariela Ruiz-Angel, coordinator for the city’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, said back in April.

In response, Expo New Mexico opened up its dorms on the fairgrounds. At full capacity, the facility can host up to 240 people. But that decision then forced a 4-H horse school to move its program across the state in order house students.

“In accordance with our mission, this is what we do. When there’s a humanitarian crisis, or any crisis of that nature, we’re here to open up our grounds,” General Manager of Expo New Mexico, Dan Mourning, said.

KRQE News 13 has learned since that announcement, not one asylum seeker has stayed there. Wednesday, a spokesperson with Expo New Mexico, Oona Gonzales, said they’ve been ready and waiting for the call to open their doors to them. Hours later, however, the governor’s office confirmed there have been some issues getting the facility ready, including getting running hot water.

The governor’s office wouldn’t say what other problems they ran into, only that if they had to, Expo New Mexico would be ready to house asylum seekers today.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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