LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) was visited the El Calvario United Methodist Church in Las Cruces Wednesday to thank community members for advocating and preparing assistance for migrants during the pandemic.
This comes on the heels of 170,000 migrants being taken into custody along the U.S.-Mexico border in March - the highest monthly total since at least 2006, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Right now, no migrants are being kept in Las Cruces facilities but if the numbers continue to rise, it is expected that migrants will be brought to the Land of Enchantment.
El Calvario and the Hospitality Coalition have been renovating their spaces in anticipation of migrant care and sheltering.
Pastor George Miller told ABC-7 the church has spent approximately $100,000 on improvements.
Those improvements include a sprinkler system, a garden, a fridge that can store 500 food boxes, an outdoor seating area and five commercial food dryers which make about 20 bags of dried fruit and vegetables a day.
“If we have guests like asylum seekers or refugees it’s little packs of food that are light and travel really well,” Miller said.
Recently, Heinrich secured $110 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide economic support for local governments and groups that provide humanitarian care to migrants at the border.
"Because we've been through this before we were more prepared this time,” Heinrich said. “Specifically to be able to fund these kinds of efforts, in the past, those have also been reimbursement efforts. We wrote things this time to be able to be more proactive and to build that capacity ahead of time."
Miller doesn’t expect to see any migrants in the next month but told ABC-7 that the church will be ready to house them whenever needed.
For those who would like to donate to Miller's effort, you can visit resiliencylc.org.