GLORIETA, N.M. (KRQE) – A surge of undocumented immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border is pushing federal resources to the limit. Thousands of those migrant children might soon be housed at a church camp in northern New Mexico. The federal government is asking Glorieta Camps to possibly take in more than 2,000 kids, and now, they’re in need of hundreds of volunteers to help.
Facilities across the border are overwhelmed, some seeing an influx of migrants up to 16 times their capacity and many of them are children. Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is scrambling to find somewhere for the unaccompanied minors to go as more arrive at the border.
“Our objective is to take a different approach from the last administration,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary. “We are not going to send children under the age of 18, kids under the age of 18 back on this treacherous journey.”
In fact, they’re eyeing a popular New Mexico church camp as the perfect spot to serve a few thousand kids. Glorieta Camps confirm the federal government has asked them to immediately prepare to house and feed more than 2,000 children from the border.
“They are fleeing challenging economic circumstances, hurricanes, prosecution, and some scenarios,” said Psaki. “It does not mean that they get to stay in the United States. It means their cases are adjudicated and we want to treat them humanely, make sure they’re in a safe place while their cases are adjudicated. That’s what we’re talking about here.”
The camps are asking for hundreds of volunteers to step in and look after the kids. KRQE News 13 reached out to the governor’s office for her take on this influx of migrant children.
“The state is aware only that the federal administration is seeking temporary congregate sites for unaccompanied minors, but we have no other details or information about where or when or if there is indeed a final plan for the significant logistical and safety considerations that the federal government would need to undertake. We would have to defer to HHS, DHS, or FEMA or whichever federal entity would be managing that potential operation,” said Nora Sackett, press secretary to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Glorieta isn’t the only U.S. city preparing to receive migrant children. Earlier this week, children started arriving at the San Diego Convention Center.
“We are going to do that because it’s the right thing to do,” said Todd Gloria, Mayor of San Diego. “These are children. Some of them are very young, they’re very vulnerable and they need our help.”
That center in San Diego will host up to 1,400 migrant girls between the ages of 13 and 17. They’re expected to stay there for at least 30 days.
“We have a building that will be vacant until July,” said Nathan Fletcher, the San Diego County Supervisor. “We have a willing federal partner that wants to help us provide compassion and empathy and support to these children and 90-percent of them have family members here in the United States.”
As for Glorieta, it’s unclear what ages the children will be or how long they’ll be there. Glorieta Camps say they’re still waiting to sign an official contract with the federal government, but they are busy preparing.
No word yet on when the children might start arriving. KRQE News 13 also reached out to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to find out where these kids are coming from and how long they’ll be here, but did not hear back.