o An asylum seeker is someone who is seeking international protection but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been determined. These individuals legally present themselves at the U.S. ports of entries (airports, seaports and borders), bearing proper identification and medical records, including vaccination records. They are legally admitted into the United States while their refugee status is reviewed. Often times, these individuals are sent to live with either relatives or sponsor families while their review process is carried out.
o The majority of asylum seekers who have entered the United States do not require medical attention. Those that do require medical attention are largely treated for illness or injury related to their journey to the United States, which can often be hundreds of miles. For example: dehydration, blisters, stomach upset (from not having enough food or water while traveling), chapped skin/lips, colds, etc. – almost all of which are easily treated using over the counter medications. A very small number of asylum seekers require medication prescribed by a doctor. Those few get the medicine they need to successfully treat their illness before leaving New Mexico and connecting with their sponsors across the nation to await their asylum hearings. These prescribed medications are largely paid for by volunteers at local churches and often by the medical professional themselves out of their own pocket.
The New Mexico Department of Health is working with ICE and CBP, as well as local healthcare providers and shelters, to identify and appropriately respond to any new arrivals with potentially communicable infections. Those types of medical issues, however, are by a vast majority addressed and treated by federal authorities upon being placed in federal custody as they cross the U.S./Mexico border and very rare.- Are these individuals vaccinated?
o Asylum seekers entering the U.S. are from countries with high immunization coverage. These countries administer vaccines in accordance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expanded Program on Immunization. In fact, their vaccination rates compare favorably to New Mexico vaccination rates.
-Will the temporary housing of migrants impact any scheduled events at EXPO New Mexico?
o No. All scheduled events will continue as planned, including the 2019 New Mexico State Fair. There will be no migrants housed at the facility August – September.
- Where within the property will the migrants be housed?
o While on the fairgrounds, these individuals will occupy enclosed dormitories and courtyards which are not typically utilized for public events. They will also utilize some spaces in the Youth Hall, which has limited use for year round events, though nothing is scheduled in the foreseeable future.
- Will they be using other areas within the fairgrounds?
o At this time, plans for housing migrant families are limited to the specific enclosed spaces within the dormitory building and Youth Hall.
- Why is EXPO NM doing this?
o Expo New Mexico has a proud and well-established history of providing shelter and accommodations for people in need. It has been determined that Expo New Mexico can provide a practical and humane solution through the use of dormitory space, and we are prepared to house dozens of individuals at a time as they make a temporary stop on their way to long-term housing with sponsor families in other states.
- How is EXPO handling security with more people on site?
o EXPO New Mexico maintains a security presence at the fairgrounds year round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We continuously evaluate security requirements to ensure adequate staffing and coverage. EXPO will coordinate with APD and New Mexico State Police as it pertains to the facility.
- How is the process being funded?
o Community and volunteer organizations are providing food, water and toiletries via a network of donations. EXPO is an enterprise agency generating its own operating budget through the renting of our facilities, parking, and events. EXPO New Mexico receives no state money from the state’s General Fund. The costs associated with use of the Leon Harms Youth Hall has little to no impact on EXPO’s operating budget.
- How can I help those coming to the fairgrounds?
o Anyone interested in helping or donating to assist in this humanitarian crisis are encouraged to contact Catholic Charities via their website at http://www.ccasfnm.org/
or by phone at (505) 724-4670. You can also contact the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs via telephone at (505) 768-3040.