A small New Mexico town is the home of an immigration detention center, and the town's mayor tells Newsmax that there is "very real concern" that diseases from other countries will be brought to his community.
Artesia Mayor Phillip Burch told J.D. Hayworth and Miranda Khan on Newsmax TV's
"America's Forum" Wednesday that the detention center, which is reportedly suffering from poor hygiene and health conditions, is currently in its third lockdown over an outbreak of chickenpox.
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"The operation here has kind of been fits and starts," Burch explained.
"They get into business and then they have a case of chickenpox, which causes a quarantine period of 21 days," he said."They get passed that one and then they have another one, and they're in their third at this point — that 21 days will end on the 10th of October."
The Artesia mayor said that the detention center in his city of 12,000 has also had cases of lice and scabies.
"The biggest concern that we have is that initially we were told that people would be examined before they were brought here," he explained.
"What we ended up finding out is that the examination was a cursory, 'How are you feeling?' and 'Do you have a fever?' type of thing before they were sent," he said.
"All of the follow-up examinations were here, so of course the threat of bringing something into the community from countries that do experience different diseases than we do is a very real concern to the community," he added.
Burch says that Artesia residents have handled the presence of the detention center "with extreme tolerance."
"They've not been outraged," he said. "We've had three town hall meetings where their concerns were stated."
"They've been very calm in doing this, and they've been very caring and compassionate," he added.
According to Burch, members of the community have donated a great number of items to the center such as clothes, shoes, and games.
However, the community is now concerned about how the situation is being handled "by the government," primarily the fact that very few of the immigrants being detained there are being deported as they once were.
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