Fifty-seven immigrant adults and children recently reunited after being separated at the border have arrived in Albuquerque, and hundreds more are expected.
It’s a last minute effort to help these people transition out of ICE custody by the local chapter of Lutheran Family Services. The City of Albuquerque is helping out, too.
Albuquerque is just a stopping point for 300 immigrants over the next few days, coming from an ICE detention center in Otero County.
The adults and children were just reunited at that facility after being separated for two and a half months, a move that sparked backlash toward the Trump Administration.
They’ll only stay here, in a hotel, for a day or less, before carrying on to the friends and family they initially planned to stay with when arriving to the U.S.
“The best moment will be when we close the door to their hotel room and they’re together for the first time alone in low these many months,” Jim Barclay with Lutheran Family Services.
From there, they will continue the immigration process with ICE. KRQE News 13 has learned the adults are wearing ankle monitors.
Before they leave the Duke City, the community is making sure they feel safe, welcome and comfortable. An overwhelming amount of donations have come in.
A local city community center is filled with donated backpacks which have been packed with essential items like toothbrushes and deodorant.
“I think Albuquerque has a very, very big heart. And there are very many people here who know what it’s liked to have crossed the border or who have been refugees themselves or for other reasons have felt like they weren’t always welcomed, so they know what it means to be a welcoming city,” Michelle Melendez, the city’s director of equity and inclusion, said.
More than $90,000 cash and another $60,000 in gift cards and international calling cards have been donated to these families, along with all the clothes, toiletries, food and backpacks.
So much has come in, the city says whatever is leftover will be given to local families.