New Mexico

Miyagishima: "This is something the federal government should be dealing with"

City council drafting immigration resolution

Las Cruces city council drafting immigration resolution

Las Cruces, NM - The Las Cruces City Council is considering passing a resolution that calls for immigration reform.

The goal is to start a conversation and to send a message to the U.S. Government about the current problems facing the immigration system.

"Council wants to send a resolution to our federal delegation as well as Mr. Trump to let them know that the situation that we're undergoing right now really is one of unsustainability, it's very costly and we need them to get back and do their job and that is to work on immigration reform," Ken Miyagishima, Las Cruces mayor, said.  

Last month, the city of Las Cruces voted to allocate up to $500,000 to care for asylum seekers released by federal immigration authorities. 

Council had also previously approved $75,000 for the same purpose.

The city is having to deal with the recent influx of migrants and the problems since the City Council took action last month, has only gotten worse. 

"It's a lot of money and right now technically we are not using any money that we use to run the city," Mayor Miyagishima said. "It's money that we actually had invested throughout the years, but nonetheless, that's money that we use for nonprofits. Basically what we're doing is advancing that money to these nonprofits. But still, it's just not right. This is something the federal government should be dealing with."

Friday, the United States Border Patrol released more than a hundred migrants outside a bus station in the heart of west Las Cruces.

It was the first time the federal immigration agency had released migrants directly into the streets of Las Cruces.

The city had nowhere to house them because all of the available shelters were full.

Following the discovery of the migrants, the city sent them in several busloads to an armory on Brown Road that is serving as a shelter for migrants.

Mayor Miyagishima said the city spends about $29,000 a day to help non-profit organizations. 

Monday, the Las Cruces City Council will be presented with a list of requests that could be included in the resolution.

The full resolution will then go before the Council for a vote at a later date, which Mayor Miyagishima estimates will take about two weeks. 

"We recognize that we really are a small fish in this entire pond, but nonetheless we just wanted to convey our concerns and our message in hopes they may hear a little bit," Mayor Miyagishima said. 

Some of the requests that could be included in the resolution are a clearer understanding at the federal level, as to what constitutes a need for asylum and who exactly qualifies.

The request calls on the federal government to appropriately, humanely, and efficiently process the migrants claim under existing law, amended law or a new law.

There is also a request for a quick and effective method in processing the migrants and also a consideraton of compensating the city of Las Cruces for the costs it incurred while assisting the asylum seekers left in the community by the federal government.
 

"We're looking to send off a letter to Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham asking if [her office] would provide $1.5 million to the City of Las Cruces to get us over through the fiscal year, which ends June 30," Mayor Miyagishima said. 


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