JRS/USA: Chaplains Serve Detained Families at New Site

14 July 2014

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico has prepared dorm rooms to temporarily house the children and young families. (Josh Denmark/Customs and Border Patrol)

In June 20, the Department of Homeland Security announced they would open a temporary facility to detain undocumented immigrant families in Artesia, New Mexico. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has been asked to provide chaplains to help meet the spiritual needs of these families in detention.

The families are being held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and residents are housed in the former dorms used for CBP trainees. Currently, more than 600 people are being held at the facility. The site has a capacity of 700. DHS said the “campus was selected as a temporary facility because it offers a more appropriate environment for the care and custody of adults with children and is cost-effective.”

One Jesuit Refugee Service/USA chaplain will serve the people there from July 27 through Aug 14, and another JRS/USA chaplain from Aug. 12 to Aug 26. A chaplain from Church World Service is currently serving the people held in Artesia, and another from CWS will return when the JRS/USA chaplains depart. It is expected the rotation will remain as such for the foreseeable future.