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Donations for migrant families fill house at Gospel Rescue Mission

Buy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoAutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideLAS CRUCES – A surge in donations has followed a surge in asylum-seeking migrants in southern New Mexico.The Border Patrol began dropping off migrants — most men, women and children from Central American countries — directly in Las Cruces on Friday,…

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Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission worker Bob Reed talks with Sandra Beltran, background, who donated items for migrants Monday April 15, 2019, while shelter worker Chris Ostic, foreground, signs up volunteers Karen Escobedo, center, and Suzanne Lucero.

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There was some fancy footwork going on at the Gospel Rescue Mission Monday, April 15, 2019, as migrant children kick a soccer ball around.

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Migrant families and children wait for the next step of their journey Monday April 15, 2019, at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces.

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Migrant families and children wait for the next step of their journey Monday April 15, 2019, at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces.

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Border Patrol vans arrive Monday, April 15, 2019, at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces. The mission received about 170 migrants on Monday.

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Henry Young, executive director and chaplain at the Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission, calls for medical help Monday April 15, 2019.

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Donations of goods for migrant families arrive at the Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission Monday, April 15, 2019.

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A home on the Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission's property is being used to hold donations from the community for migrant families who have been dropped off by Border Patrol in Las Cruces. Shown here are bags of donated items on Monday April 15, 2019.

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A room overflowing with donations at the Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission, Monday April 15, 2019.

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Some of the items most needed for migrant families at The Gospel Rescue Mission Monday April 15, 2019, are toilet paper, all sizes of hand sanitizer, and feminine hygiene products.

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A room full of toys for the migrant children at the Las Cruces Rescue Mission, Monday April 15, 2019.

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LAS CRUCES – A surge in donations has followed a surge in asylum-seeking migrants in southern New Mexico.

The Border Patrol began dropping off migrants — most men, women and children from Central American countries — directly in Las Cruces on Friday, and calls for donations — money, clothes, toiletries, toys, etc., — soon followed by organizations caring for the migrants before they travel to meet family and sponsors in other parts of the country.

The Gospel Rescue Mission — one of a number of locations where migrants are staying — is managing donations. Most of the donated goods are being kept in a house on the mission’s property, with one room filled from floor to ceiling, and large piles of items overtaking the rest of the house. 

More: Migrant drop-offs in Las Cruces continue; city approves funding for response

Dr. Brian Ormand, who sits on the mission’s board, said the mission has had a tremendous outpouring from the community, in both donated goods and people volunteering their time.

“We’re filling up a house we’re remodeling, our garages are full, so finding out where to put all this, and then having the people know what we’re needing to sort out, the people who are sorting are (also) doing traffic control and other things, so we have this extra work from the generosity that people have,” Ormand said. 

Much of the donated items haven’t been sorted and organized, Ormand said, so if the mission needs something specific, like an extra pop-up shelter, they’ll buy one at store. 

That’s where monetary donations come in handy. Also, money is used to help pay for things such as prescription medication.

“If an immigrant needs like a prescription in the middle of the night, we have to go get it, and we have to pony up the money, and some medicines aren’t cheap if you don’t have any insurance, but if they need an antibiotic, we get it for them if we have the resources,” he said. 

Las Cruces resident Sandra Beltran donated bottled water and other goods Monday.

“They’re human people in need and we have to take care of one another, and that’s all there is too it, no matter what our beliefs are, no matter of anything, they just are people in need,” she said, explaining that the issue is not a political one for her.

Belltran said her ex husband’s family is from Cuba, and had to flee in the 1960’s.  

“I feel like I have some very personal experience with that, and it just breaks my heart to think that people have to flee their homes looking for safety, things that we should all be guaranteed,” she said. 

Rewarding work

Henry Young, executive director and chaplain at Gospel Rescue Mission, said the past few days have been hectic, but rewarding. 

“We have seen what people can do under conditions that are not always conducive to a fun time. They (volunteers) have been really doing a lot of work, and seem to be enjoying it,” he said. 

The mission had plenty of volunteers throughout the weekend, but now people are back at work. The mission is in need of people who can volunteer with the migrants on a longer term basis. 

Still, people signed up to volunteer on Monday, including Karen Escobedo and Suzanne Lucero.

Both said seeing the migrants in person helps them appreciate what they have. 

“We take life for granted. We take the little things we do have for granted, honestly, you know, especially nowadays, everything is taken for granted. It’ll make you appreciate what you do have,” Lucero said. 

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Migrant children play soccer at the Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission Monday April 15, 2019.
Bethany Freudenthal/Sun-News, Las Cruces Sun-News

At the mission

Throughout the morning at Gospel Rescue Mission, a stream of vehicles came and went as Las Cruces residents dropped off donations, or signed up to volunteer. At the same time, the mission’s backyard was alive with activity.  A migrant woman wearing a lavender shirt sitting with children next to a tree, and a man wearing a chartreuse shirt both smiled and waved to passerby. Children kicked around a soccer ball and said a quick “hola” to the passerby before continuing their game.

Gospel Rescue Mission has had to dispel rumors, even among long-time donors to the shelter, that homeless people were being displaced to provide housing to migrants. Migrants are being housed on temporary cots in the facility’s cafeteria apart from the shelter’s normal population.

Young said some long-time donors had threatened to stop donating based on those rumors.

“That was entirely false,” he said. “We have not utilized any of space that’s normally used for the homeless. We have not kicked anybody out or asked them to leave.”

On Monday, Border Patrol dropped off an additional 170 migrants at the mission. 

Donations needed

The Gospel Rescue Mission is continuing to accept donations, especially everyday items such as toilet paper, paper towels, men’s razors, combs and brushes, all sizes of hand sanitizers, feminine hygiene products, paper plates, cups, bowls, plastic cutlery and large trash bags. 

Donations of goods can be dropped off at the mission, 1050 W Amador Ave., each day, while monetary donations can be made by clicking the donate button at http://www.lcgrm.org/donations/.

Bethany Freudenthal can be reached at bbrunellef@lcsun-news.com, 575-541-5449 or @bethanyfreuden1 on Twitter. 

More: Border Patrol drops off migrants in Las Cruces

More: Border Patrol drops off migrants in Las Cruces for first time

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Las Cruces

Water managers release Rio Grande outlook

Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press Published 7:10 p.m. MT April 18, 2019 | Updated 7:10 p.m. MT April 18, 2019ALBUQUERUQUE – Federal water managers in New Mexico had reason to celebrate Thursday as they rolled out their annual management plan for the Rio Grande, citing a “complete turnaround” from a year ago when the river was on…

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Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press
Published 7:10 p.m. MT April 18, 2019 | Updated 7:10 p.m. MT April 18, 2019

ALBUQUERUQUE – Federal water managers in New Mexico had reason to celebrate Thursday as they rolled out their annual management plan for the Rio Grande, citing a “complete turnaround” from a year ago when the river was on the verge of going dry through one of its most visible stretches.

It comes after a very wet winter in New Mexico and other parts of the U.S. West. Officials with the Bureau of Reclamation and other federal, state and local water agencies gathered in Albuquerque to go over forecasts, storage expectations and predictions about how much water will be released from reservoirs along the river.

They’re more optimistic following a year that forced them to intervene to keep the river flowing through the Albuquerque area during the summer months.

“This is a complete turnaround from last year when we were preparing for drying in the middle Rio Grande in April,” said Jennifer Faler, who manages the Bureau of Reclamation’s Albuquerque office. “We are looking forward to a good spring runoff that will improve storage supplies and help the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow spawn.”

Snowpack in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, which make up the headwaters of the river, were above average over the winter. Ski resorts around the region extended their seasons as a result and soil that had been deprived of any moisture for more than a year saw its first chance at a recharge.

April’s forecast predicts flows into El Vado Reservoir, on the upper end of the river, will be 142% of average. That’s up from just 18% last year.

Similar increases are expected farther south along the Rio Grande in Santa Fe County.

Officials also hope the increased flows will allow restrictions to be lifted that prevent more Rio Grande water from being stored in upstream reservoirs. The restrictions are part of a water-sharing compact with Texas and are triggered any time the reservoirs fall below a certain level.

Elephant Butte and Caballo reservoirs in southern New Mexico ended the last irrigation season holding less than 3% of their combined storage capacity.

They’re rebounding and are currently holding more than 288,000 acre-feet, or about 13% of capacity. An acre-foot is enough water to serve one to two average households a year.

The restrictions could end as soon as May, officials said.

Overall, U.S. climate experts say drought conditions are expected to continue improving across New Mexico in the coming months. Extreme and exceptional drought have disappeared from the state, but moderate to severe conditions still are lingering across much of the northwest.

The irrigation season in southern New Mexico will begin the first week of June. Federal managers plan to begin releasing water from Elephant Butte Reservoir on May 3 to prepare for the season.

More: Area farmers to start with 6-inches-per-acre allotment of water

More: NMSU to host Two Nations One Water summit

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Las Cruces

Community snapshot: April 19

Sun-News reports, Las Cruces Sun-News Published 6:03 p.m. MT April 18, 2019 Community snapshot: The Camerata Del Sol Ensemble, a string orchestra, collaborated with New Mexico State University faculty members Sarah Daughtry and Laura Spitzer and graduate student soprano Ida Holguin to perform a concert on Palm Sunday, April 14 at St. Albert Newman Center, 2615…

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Sun-News reports, Las Cruces Sun-News
Published 6:03 p.m. MT April 18, 2019

Community snapshot: The Camerata Del Sol Ensemble, a string orchestra, collaborated with New Mexico State University faculty members Sarah Daughtry and Laura Spitzer and graduate student soprano Ida Holguin to perform a concert on Palm Sunday, April 14 at St. Albert Newman Center, 2615 Solano Drive, in Las Cruces. The concert included “The Seven Last Words of Christ at the Cross” by Franz Joseph Haydn (arranged for string quartet and soprano by José Peris) and the “Chanson Perpétuelle” for mezzo-soprano, piano and string quartet by French composer Ernest Chausson. Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in the days before his crucifixion, marked the start of Holy Week in the Catholic, as well as several other denominations’, tradition.

To submit an item for community snapshot, email photo and information to news@lcsun-news.com.

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Las Cruces

More than 1,000 migrants have now been dropped off in Las Cruces

From Staff Reports, Las Cruces Sun-News Published 3:58 p.m. MT April 18, 2019 | Updated 5:40 p.m. MT April 18, 2019Buy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoBuy PhotoAutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideLAS CRUCES – Border Patrol has released more than 1,000 migrants in…

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From Staff Reports, Las Cruces Sun-News
Published 3:58 p.m. MT April 18, 2019 | Updated 5:40 p.m. MT April 18, 2019

Migrants pass the time at the Doña Ana County Crisis Triage Center, which has been converted into a temporary shelter for asylum seekers, on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

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A young migrant boy colors a Spider-man coloring book at the Doña Ana County Crisis Triage Center, which has been converted into a temporary shelter for asylum seekers, on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

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Volunteer Myrna Brown, left, and Johana Bencomo, director of organizing for New Mexico CAFé, work to book travel for migrants at the Doña Ana County Crisis Triage Center on Wednesday, January 17, 2019.

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A young migrant at the Doña Ana Crisis Triage Center, which has been converted into a temporary shelter for asylum seekers, on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

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A migrant father shows a picture book to his young daughter at the Doña Ana County Crisis Triage Center, which has been converted into a temporary shelter for asylum seekers, on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

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Border Patrol vans drop off migrants at Meerscheidt Recreation Center on Saturday morning, April 13, 2019.

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Staff from Casa de Peregrinos food pantry unload food for migrants at Meerscheidt Recreation Center on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

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A Honduran mother and her son shortly  after their arrival at Meerscheidt Recreation Center on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

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Migrants wait to be processed after arriving at Meerscheidt Recreation Center on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

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Ray Marshall, operations manager for donations at the Gospel Rescue Mission sorts through donations for migrants the shelter received on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

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Cullen Combs, emergency manager for Las Cruces and Doña Ana County, speaks to Border Patrol agents and Claudia Tristán, bilingual press secretary for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in Las Cruces on Friday, April 12, 2019.

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Border Patrol agents prepare to unload the first five vans of migrants that arrived at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces on Friday, April 12, 2019.

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Migrants disembark from Border Patrol vans at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces on Friday, April 12, 2019.

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Migrants disembark from Border Patrol vans at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces on Friday, April 12, 2019.

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Migrants disembark from Border Patrol vans at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces on Friday, April 12, 2019.

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A Border Patrol agent helps migrants out of a van at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces on Friday morning, April 12, 2019.

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Migrants disembark from Border Patrol vans at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces on Friday, April 12, 2019.

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Migrants get drinks after being dropped off at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces on Friday, April 12, 2019.

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Migrants wait in line to get drinks after being dropped off by the Border Patrol at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces on Friday morning, April 12, 2019.

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Migrants dropped off by the Border Patrol at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces eat bag lunches outside the shelter on Friday, April 12, 2019.

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A second group of Border Patrol vans carrying migrants arrives at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces on Friday morning, April 12, 2019.

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LAS CRUCES – Border Patrol has released more than 1,000 migrants in Las Cruces in the past seven days.

Friday of last week, the federal agency began releasing migrants in Las Cruces because of a shortage of space at Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers. Most are migrants from Central America who are seeking asylum. 

In response, the city established a network of temporary shelters to house migrants while the asylum-seekers — men, women and children — look to travel elsewhere in the United States.

Border Patrol dropped off another 140 migrants by 1 p.m. Thursday, bringing the total number since last week to 1,080. More migrants were expected after 1 p.m.

Top official visits

Also Thursday, the state’s top emergency management toured shelters in Las Cruces.

Mayor Ken Miyagishima, reached about 3 p.m Thursday while he was waiting for State Homeland Security and Emergency Management Secretary Jackie White to visit the Gospel Rescue Mission, planned to discuss other cities in New Mexico taking asylum-seekers.

He said he’s already discussed the issue with Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.

“It looks like they’ll be taking some. We just need to figure out transportation,” the mayor said.

White spoke to migrants being temporarily housed at the Gospel Rescue Mission on Thursday afternoon and helped pass out food. Just before 5 p.m., volunteers delivered about 250 meals to the shelter. Shortly after 5 p.m., Border Patrol dropped off about 24 newly arrived migrants. 

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‘It’s non-stop’

Miyagishima told the Santa Fe New Mexican that volunteers and employees helping manage the migrant drop-offs in Las Cruces are “tired” and “overworked.”

““It’s nonstop. They’re bringing them at all hours of the night, he said.

“We could easily handle 200, but not 200 a day, and that’s why I’m thinking if Santa Fe can do 150 to 200 every three days, I think it’s more manageable,” Miyagishima said. “Right now, we just can’t handle it.”

The city announced on Thursday that Las Cruces Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Daniels will assume area command of day-to-day operations concerning the migrant drop-offs.

Cullen Combs, director of the Doña Ana County/City of Las Cruces Office of Emergency Management, will take over long-term planning. Amanda Bowen, with the OEM, will become deputy commander and operations director as of Friday,

The Gospel Rescue Mission, Community of Hope and Doña Ana County Crisis Triage Center are currently housing migrants. El Calvario — which housed migrants before Border Patrol begin the drop-offs — has offered space, according to the city.

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