Local providers prepare for influx of migrants in need
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Santa Fe-based “The Life Link” is no stranger to handling crises. The organization helps smuggling and trafficking survivors.
But the organization knows the expiration of Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that limited the number of migrants allowed to cross the border, will test their resources.
“I think we were hoping that it wouldn’t be quite so soon,” said Lynn Sanchez, director of The Life Link’s Human Trafficking Department. “We’re all concerned about what this is going to mean. Because based on the numbers we saw just from the six operations in November and December, we’re talking, you know, hundreds and thousands of people.”
Last September, investigators found drugs and 29 undocumented migrants from Mexico and Guatemala in a small West Side Albuquerque house.
In November, special agents rescued three kidnapping victims and 58 undocumented migrants in southeast Albuquerque.
Then in December, law enforcement followed an anonymous tip to 69 people in an Albuquerque trailer.
“Crimes are committed against them, you know, sexual assault, physical assault, the psychological abuse, physical abuse, so I think they endure a lot,” said Sanchez.
Once Title 42 ends, Sanchez fears as more people try to find ways into the country, more could endure the same dangerous situations.
“I don’t know what the answer is, and really what’s going to happen in the next couple of months. But I imagine that it’s going to be just a very unsatisfactory solution,” said Sanchez. “Maybe they came into the country illegally, but it doesn’t give somebody else the right to sexually abuse them or, you know, harm them in any way or steal from them and things like that.”
All crime victims are entitled to help in New Mexico.
The Life Link partners with The New Mexico Dream Center and First Nations for clothing and medical care, and transportation. They’re accepting donations now for hygiene products, and other necessities.
“We should care about what happens to them. And we definitely do, but you know, I think as a society, you know, in the U.S., we should care about them,” said Sanchez.