Within 24 hours after the first immigrants arrived at the golden arches, the town converted an empty WWII airplane hanger on the fairgrounds into a migrant shelter, filled wall to wall with cots and piles of donated diapers, toiletries and clothing for migrants who often arrive hungry and have not showered for weeks. "We don't even discuss the politics of it here," says Chris Brice, who runs the shelter and is also Deming's jail warden. "They're here legally and they're human beings, so we're going to make them as comfortable as we can until they finish their journey. We give children information so they're not afraid. They've never seen a bus station or an airport before. We sometimes help them tie their shoelaces."
Among the migrants, Betsy, her husband, and their two children, ages 2 and 7, are thankful for a child-friendly space in Deming. She said drug traffickers took over her country, Honduras, and wanted her to distribute drugs. Her family refused and her brother was killed. She didn't want her children killed, so they walked for two months to reach America, struggling for food and shelter along the way. Brice says some migrant mothers pulled off astounding feats of courage. "We had a mom who has a paraplegic 12-year-old daughter, and carried her all the way in her arms." There have been few complaints from Deming residents since the first week. Some have taken migrants into their homes, and Deming churches are also providing shelter. Said one resident, "I have a lot of personal thoughts about it, but when I see a mother with a son who's having a seizure because he has a 103 degree temperature, that's going to hit you. We as Americans are just, and we're going to have an outpouring of being able to help these people."