- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Feds: Immigrant center to expedite deportations
Question of the Day
ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) - A detention center being opened in southeastern New Mexico to deal with the surge in women caught crossing illegally with children into the U.S. from Central America will be focused on deporting the immigrants quickly, officials said Thursday.
During a media tour of the austere barracks at a federal law enforcement training center turned immigration jail, a senior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said the goal is to process the immigrants and have them deported within 10 to 15 days to send a message back to their home countries that there are consequences for illegal immigration. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to talk publicly citing agency policy.
About a month ago, border patrol agents were suddenly overwhelmed by thousands of Central American immigrant children and women seeking to enter the U.S. Because officials had run out of room at holding facilities, they began releasing immigrant families and requiring them to report back within 15 days.
With this new facility, women found crossing with children will not be released, but held and quickly processed, a step toward returning the department to its policy of not releasing families and deporting those who don’t have permission to enter the U.S. legally.
Artesia Mayor Phillip Burch said he was told by federal officials that the detention center will likely be in operation for six months to a year, although he thinks it could stay open longer than that.
Last week, the Obama administration announced plans to convert the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center into one of several temporary sites being established to deal with the influx of women and children fleeing gang violence and poverty in Central American.
Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 52,000 immigrant children crossing the border alone since October.
President Barack Obama has called it a humanitarian crisis, warning parents of the dangers of sending children with smugglers.
“Do not send your children to the borders,” he said in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Thursday. “If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”
The Artesia center will only house children caught traveling with their mothers or other female relatives. Unaccompanied minors will continue to be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The center will hold nearly 700 people in a barracks-style setting, with 30 rooms per building, four bunk beds per room. Each of the three buildings will have one room as playground and one for medical staff.
The buildings have a refrigerator that will be stocked with water, milk and fruit so the children will be able to eat whenever they want. There will be toys, video games and televisions for the kids. And once an 8-foot fence is erected, the children will be allowed to play outside. They may even build a soccer field, the official said.
Some have questioned the amenities, saying they will only encourage immigrants who are desperate for a better life to try to come back.
News of the detention center opening in Artesia has stirred up fear and anger among some residents who worry about possible illnesses, a lack of resources and dramatic changes to this small, close-knit city in the middle of oil and gas country.
Others criticized the federal government’s response.
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- Michael Moore, movie-making critic of capitalism, has nine homes
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq