Officials tour FLETC immigration facilities

June 25, 2014 • Local News

Local officials met with federal authorities Tuesday at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia to learn more about the impending arrival of hundreds or even thousands of illegal immigrants from Central America.

Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh, Republican state Reps. Candy Spence Ezzell and Bill Gray, and Gray’s GOP successor, James Townsend, had a 2-hour meeting Tuesday with officials of FLETC and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce announced Tuesday he had been selected to a working group of House Republicans examining the unfolding national security and humanitarian crises.

Ezzell, R-Roswell, said she was invited to Tuesday’s meeting by FLETC director Terry Todd. She said the 2-hour meeting included officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“We asked the hard questions. This time, they had to answer them,” Ezzell said. “It was something else. I’m appalled. I really am.”

Ezzell said stuffed animals and other toys, televisions, medical care, education, day care, an in-room cleaning service, laundry services and three meals a day await the hundreds of Central American children and adults expected to begin arriving this week.

“They are putting these people in barracks that are nicer than most hotel rooms,” Ezzell said. “Each room will have a TV in it, new mattresses, the whole nine yards. They will have their linens laundered and everything. I’m appalled.

“Gosh dang, it just really, really bothers me. We have veterans that aren’t cared for like these illegals are going to be cared for. We have senior citizens that are not going to be treated as well as these people are going to be.”

Kintigh said he brought City Manager Larry Fry and Chief of Police Phil Smith with him to the meeting.

“We went over to actually where they are going to be housing these individuals,” Kintigh said, adding the accommodations are much like college dormitories.

The mayor said the illegal immigrants will be housed in the modular dorms installed at FLETC a few years ago. He estimated each dorm room could house up to eight people.

Kintigh said an 8-foot- tall chain-link fence will surround the area where waves of illegal immigrants will be housed for indefinite periods of time. Kintigh, a retired FBI agent, said the barrier is hardly a security fence.

“There was no wire on Login to read more

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