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Sunland Park Fire Chief ‘assuming’ passage of SB-4 will result in more migrant encounters

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico (KVIA) -- In the Southern Doña Ana County city of Sunland Park, attempts to breach the border are a daily occurrence.

According to the Sunland Park Fire Department, 10%-12% of calls involve undocumented immigrants, whether it's rescues from the border wall or the desert.

"I guess what we see here in the New Mexico's Sunland Park area are people who do not want to get caught. They are not giving themselves up to authorities. They are hiding. They are running," said Fire Chief Danny Medrano.

On Tuesday, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 4 — which creates a state crime for entering the state illegally from Mexico, and allows state and local authorities to deport undocumented immigrants.

Medrano told ABC-7, "my assumption is if Texas is going to either start deportations, those stories and rumors will get over to the other side, and quite possibly push migration over to New Mexico," he said.

"I think Governor Abbott is attempting to do something that he believes the federal government is not doing. I would applaud him for that. But I don't know if his answers are the right answers or not, and I think only time will tell. Of course, politics plays a big role in this. I don't believe it should be the state's responsibility, it should be a federal responsibility, unfortunately, and I think Governor Abbott's acting in the way he thinks is appropriate for his state," he said.

Medrano said what his department really needs is help.

"I've asked for things that are even free, as far as training for my first responders, for my firefighters in tracking to assist during search and rescue operations."

Medrano said he could also use GPS technology, but it's too expensive for his department to buy.

He told ABC-7 he had to take money out of his budget to retrofit vehicles so they can better respond to emergencies, and he didn't get any money from the federal government.

"It is their responsibility? I don't have that answer. We sure would appreciate some support, though," he said.

On Wednesday morning, Governor Abbott said on social media that he looks forward to signing Senate Bill 4.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Leloba Seitshiro

Leloba Seitshiro reports on ABC-7 at 5 and 6 p.m. weekdays.


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