New Mexico is at the forefront of the immigration crisis at the border. The city of Albuquerque is preparing to welcome hundreds of asylum seekers passing through.
The city says it has big plans in the works to accommodate the growing number of asylum seekers but can’t do it without volunteers.
Dozens of legal asylum seekers have already made their way to the Duke City as an influx of migrants are coming through the southern border, with 100 migrants in just the last week.
“We been able to handle dozens of asylum-seekers almost on a daily basis in Albuquerque quietly, discreetly, and helpfully,” said Mayor Tim Keller.
However, Mayor Keller says the number of migrants is now growing rapidly.
“What’s happening now is the influx is really, really, drastically increasing the number of folks who need help,” Mayor Keller said.
He says everything thus far has been donated by countless non-profits and volunteers like Indivisible Nob Hill.
“These folks are not here to stay very long,” said Rayellen Smith, president of Indivisible Nob Hill. “They are here to stay a night maybe two nights. they have sponsors here in the U.S. and they’re all flying out to them.”
Volunteers have been able to help a few migrants each day with food and shelter, but the sanctuary city wants to keep up with the increase.
“Give them to the sanctuary cities maybe to take care of if that’s the way they want it,” President Donald Trump said recently. “Because we can only hold them under the current law for 20 days.”
Some officials, like the mayors of Denver, New York City, and Los Angeles, say Trump is using migrants as pawns, but they all welcome the migrants. So does Mayor Keller.
“We are going to get asylum seekers no matter what. The question is what are we going to do with them?,” Mayor Keller said. “It’s because we have the only major airport in the state and we have only major bus station in the state.”
To avoid migrant encampments, Mayor Keller says the city and county are already looking at potential housing sites that have facilities, beds and kitchens.
“We are checking all across the Bernalillo County area for different areas that might be able to meet all of those needs,” Keller said.
Mayor Keller says if he has to use city funds to help he will, but hopes enough donations will avoid that. A bigger plan to address the asylum seekers which includes other mayors and the Governor will be unveiled in the next few weeks.