New Mexico Church Prepares For Influx of Migrants

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Currents News Staff

Rev. George Miller is the executive director of the Immigrant Advocacy Center at El Calvario United Methodist Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

“We’re a tiny little church,” Rev. George said. “We have a big heart though. We’ve always welcomed people, especially those that are not welcome in other places. So it’s been a refuge for people.”

As the center prepares to welcome migrants, the reverend met with New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich.

“We’re starting the process of meeting with the sorts of religious organizations, nonprofits and others who can help address those refugee needs on an on the ground basis,” the senator said, “and make sure that we have, that we’re not caught flat footed, that we have the capacity to do that in a humane and legal and efficient way.” 

Senator Heinrich says unlike past years when these efforts were reimbursed, there’s now federal funding available ahead of time.

“We started working a number of months ago, to actually include funding in the American Rescue Plan,” Sen. Heinrich said, “to be able to build local capacity to meet and address the number of migrants that we typically see this time of year.”

In the past, they’ve been able to house 60 migrants at this facility. But now, because of the pandemic, that number has been reduced to just 30. Still, expenses have increased as they work to keep everyone safe and healthy.

“It just seems like when you’re doing the right thing, the money comes from somewhere,” Rev. George said.

They hope this visit contributes to work that will continue to help their shelter and others in New Mexico stay prepared.

“We hope to help with the senator to start building that Mexican infrastructure,” Rev. George added, “so we can meet these contingencies, as they come about every time.”