Tags: Homeland Security | Immigration | illegal immigrants | detention center | New Mexico | mayor

Mayor: Illegal Immigrants Released From Detention Center

By    |   Wednesday, 19 Nov 2014 11:35 AM

In the last six weeks, almost all of the illegal immigrants being housed in a New Mexico detention center have been released, rather than deported, according to the mayor of Artesia, where one of the three federal holding facilities is located.

"That seems like the way the numbers have gone over the past six weeks. The past six weeks [have seen] a 95 percent release rate," Mayor Phillip Burch told KSVP radio, according to The Washington Times.

“I think we can cease calling it a detention center,” Burch told The Associated Press after it was reported the center would close by the end of December.

During the first week of November, 77 people were released and six were deported, said Burch citing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) figures. In the second week, 80 people were released and only five were deported.

On Tuesday, ICE announced that since Nov.7, no detained illegal immigrants had been transferred to the Artesia facility and that the remaining families would be released or sent to one of two other detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania.

"ICE opened the temporary facility in Artesia in June as a critical piece of the government’s response to the unprecedented influx of adults with children at the Southwest border. Since then, the numbers of illegal migrants crossing into south Texas has gone down considerably," said Acting ICE Director Winkowski in a statement.

Burch noticed in early October that federal officials were opting to release, rather than deport, many of the individuals who had illegally crossed into the U.S. from Central America, which is a direct contradiction of the pledge made by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson that the facility would be used to deport people through expedited removal.

Burch told KSVP radio last week that he did not believe the 95 percent rate of release was "happening just by accident," but was part of an administration plan to "do a big amnesty announcement, and so, yeah, get 'em all released in here, and they’ll all get amnesty, and they’ll all stay.

It was also in October that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against DHS to compel the release of documents regarding the use of the expedited removal process at the detention center in Artesia.

"The American people have a right to know the truth about what is happening at Artesia," said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, in an Oct. 21 statement announcing its litigation.

"We already know that the government is turning its back on the life-threatening risks these mothers and children will face if they are returned to Central America. But the government is still keeping its new processes for detaining and deporting these families a secret," she added.

Burch told The Associated Press in October that in one week federal immigration authorities reported 61 releases and no deportations, which was the second consecutive week that ICE authorities reported to Artesia officials that more detainees were released than deported.

The two weeks following the June opening of the Artesia detention center, 135 people were deported and 12 were released, according to figures provided to Burch by ICE officials.

According to a June 20 ICE fact sheet, the Artesia facility would be used "to increase our capacity to hold and expedite the removal of the increasing number of adults with children illegally crossing the Southwest Border."

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In the last six weeks, almost all of the illegal immigrants being housed in a New Mexico detention center have been released, rather than deported, according to the mayor of Artesia, where one of the three federal holding facilities is located.
illegal immigrants, detention center, New Mexico, mayor
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2014-35-19
Wednesday, 19 Nov 2014 11:35 AM
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