Border checkpoint closures prompt state of emergency in Otero County
April 19, 2019 12:35 PM
OTERO COUNTY, N.M. - Otero County officials have declared a state of emergency in the wake of the closures of Customs and Border Patrol checkpoints last month.
County Commission Chairman Couy Griffin told the Las Cruces Sun News that they have called on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to deploy National Guard troops to reopen the checkpoints in order to stop drugs and illegal activity at the border.
That request was met with a response saying checkpoints are not the responsibility of the National Guard.
"If Otero County officials are unhappy that a federal checkpoint has been un-manned, so to speak, their concerns would have the best chance of being addressed if registered with the federal agency that made the decision to shift that personnel elsewhere," Governor's Office spokesman Tripp Stelnicki told the Las Cruces Sun News.
Griffin said the county may consider legal action if the state fails to help and have to take matters into their own hands.
“If this demand is not met by the State of New Mexico in one week’s time, the County of Otero will take action itself to provide security and safety and well-being for the people in this county,” Otero County Commission Chairman Couy Griffin said.
The checkpoints in the El Paso Sector, which includes West Texas and New Mexico, were closed in late March in what Border Patrol agents said would be a temporary closure.
At that time, a Border Patrol spokesperson said resources were being diverted to “process and ensure appropriate care” for people who crossed into the U.S. illegally.
The checkpoints are part of the Border Patrol's immigration and smuggling enforcement system in the border region.
Updated: April 19, 2019 12:35 PM
Created: April 19, 2019 06:43 AM
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