City officials in Las Cruces say they’ve accepted hundreds of asylum seekers released from detention in just over a week. Those folks might need to see a doctor, a therapist or simply have a warm meal.
The state’s Medical Reserve Corps is looking for volunteers to help meet those needs. When a natural disaster strikes or there’s a humanitarian emergency here, the New Mexico Medical Reserve Corps gets moving.
There are about 60 volunteers working with migrants in Las Cruces on a daily basis. Some of them are nurses, pharmacists, translators. Bobbie MacKenzie, the Corps’ volunteer coordinator, says they all need a break.
"The same volunteers are working day and day out and burning out," MacKenzie said. "So we can switch them out before the burnout starts."
Thousands of migrants have come into New Mexico in recent months. After they’re released from ICE facilities, some might have trouble getting medical attention or a place to stay. So the Medical Reserve Corps takes care of them however they can. That goes beyond doctors and nurses.
"We’re starting to need our non-medical volunteers to help with donations management, helping with the cooking and cleaning," she said.
New Mexico might just be one stop along a migrant’s journey from their home country to wherever they’re trying to go.
*** To volunteer for the New Mexico Medical Reserve Corps, email Bobbie MacKenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to NMHealth.org and search for "New Mexico Medical Reserve Corps."
Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.