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Migrant Surge: Deming declares state of emergency; helping migrants at state fairgrounds

The City of Deming declared a state of emergency and is now using the New Mexico State Fairgrounds to coordinate with migrants released by Border Patrol in Luna County.

Deming City Administrator Aaron Sera told ABC-7 the City started receiving migrants Sunday morning.

Sera said the Fairgrounds are primarily being used to help migrants make travel arrangement when they are dropped off by Border Patrol. Sera said the facility can house up to 150 migrants if needed.

While coordination is happening at the fairgrounds, the primary housing facility for the migrants is at an old hangar at the Deming airport. Officials said about 200 migrants are being held in the airport in addition to the 150 receiving help at the fairgrounds building. The migrants will he housed at the airport until they are able to make travel arrangements to meet up with sponsor families or relatives elsewhere in the U.S.

Sera said the City of Deming expects to receive about 100 migrants per day.

City and county officials are helping coordinate the efforts, but Sera said most of the work is being done by volunteers with non-governmental organizations. “All the volunteers are here doing the processing, the contacts with the sponsors and setting up the plane tickets, the bus tickets, everything else like that,” said Sera.

“50 percent of them in that building right there are young children,” a volunteer told ABC-7, “It breaks my heart, you know, because of the journey they’ve made.”

“This is what we do. This community is really amazing and when there’s a need, they show up,” said Ray Trejo, another volunteer who started helping on Mother’s Day, “We’re all humans and we’re here to provide a resource for those that may need something and that’s why we’re here.”

The Deming City Council declared a state of emergency Monday night in response to the influx. City officials hope the declaration will help free up some additional funding as they care for the migrants.

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