Hundreds of illegal immigrants, many of whom are children, may soon be housed at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, sources told the Daily Record late Thursday.
One source with inside information of U.S. Border Patrol operations said the administration of President Barack Obama late Wednesday or early Thursday put the law enforcement training center on notice, and notified officials at the training center to begin making preparations to receive some of the thousands of illegal immigrants crossing into South Texas.
Another source, who also requested anonymity, said the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has commissioned a feasibility study of the ability of the Artesia Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to accommodate illegal immigrants flooding into the United States from Central America.
A woman answering the telephone at the Artesia Federal Law Enforcement Training Center said Thursday, “That’s crazy.” She declined to comment on the reports and told the newspaper to call back during normal business hours on Friday.
Terry Todd, director of the Artesia training center, could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
The source who said the White House issued the preparation order said the training center has about 1,000 beds. He said the training center would probably be instructed not to receive new cadets in order to make room for the illegal immigrants.
Artesia Mayor Phillip Burch could not be reached for comment Thursday. The law enforcement training center is situated on 220 acres in the northwest section of Artesia.
Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh said Thursday he had not heard about the reports of using the Artesia training center to house illegal immigrants.
The source with inside information of U.S. Border Patrol operations said the morale of U.S. Border Patrol agents has been shattered by the dramatic influx of illegal immigrants from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, including thousands of unaccompanied children.
Illegal immigrants have typically surrendered to border patrol agents upon entering the United States, rather than trying to evade authorities.
The source with information of U.S. Border Patrol operations said the U.S.-Mexico border is essentially wide open as border patrol agents deal with the influx of illegal immigrants inland.
The steep increase in illegal immigrants from Central America has overwhelmed the federal government’s immigration detention network.
Critics allege the Obama adminstration is detaining illegal immigrants in inhumane conditions.
The administration is also releasing illegal immigrants at bus stops with notices to appear in immigration court.