The Artesia immigration detention center in New Mexico has been overwhelmed by controversy ever since it opened earlier this year, with hundreds of woman and children detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the facility before being deported. The center became the subject of protests by immigrant activists all over the United States and an announcement has now been made by ICE that the shelter is to close.
The great majority of those detained in the center came from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in a bid to escape poverty and gang violence. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that ICE confirmed on 18th November that the Artesia family detention center would close at the end of this year. The center has played host to 188 adults and 231 children; in addition, trainees of the US Border Patrol live in Federal Law Enforcement Training Campus dormitories.
The fall in the amount of undocumented immigrants crossing the southwest border is the reason for the closure, according to ICE’s acting director, Thomas Winkowski. “ICE opened the temporary facility in Artesia in June as a critical piece of the government’s response to the unprecedented influx of adults with children at the southwest border,” he says. “Since then, the numbers of illegal migrants crossing into South Texas has gone down considerably.”
Those detainees currently held at the facility will be relocated to two Texas family immigration detention centers.