Readers Digest has voted Las Cruces as the Nicest Place in New Mexico. And one of the main reasons, and also one of the most controversial for this area, began with the asylum seekers being dropped off in Las Cruces by the Border Patrol. Residents in Las Cruces responded with kindness and compassion that we all see and experience on a daily basis living here.
A little background from Readers Digest about this 3rd annual crowd-sourced effort to find the best places that people treat others with respect. “This year we sifted through over 1,000 stories of places where people stick together because of kindness, and these are the best from each state,” said Reader’s Digest Editor-in-Chief Bruce Kelley. “In doing so, we learned something amazing, which is that no matter what’s going on in the news or social media, the truth is that there’s goodness all around us. We hope these stories lift spirits and inspire all of us to be better neighbors, friends and family.”
This year’s search brought in a record number of submissions with a final tally of 1,077 stories, nearly three times that of 2018.
In April 2019, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection began dropping off asylum seekers in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a city of about 100,000 just an hour from the U.S.–Mexico border. Because of “capacity issues,” the U.S. immigration agency said that it would be releasing migrants seeking asylum into New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, according to the Associated Press.
Without being asked, community residents began hosting their own clothing and food drives, and even opening up their own homes and businesses to asylum seekers. Some volunteered at the housing facility themselves, others worked as language interpreters and office workers processing travel documents. Doctors provided medical services and lawyers assisted with legal issues, all free of charge.
A nine-year-old boy held a lemonade stand to raise money for his sick grandfather over spring break. The community rallied behind the family, and surpassed the boy’s goal of $120, raising almost $30,000. Robert Paquette, a local resident who was homeless as a teenager, has raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay for food and clothing for the homeless population in town.
“Acts of kindness and compassion happen every day in Las Cruces,” says Steve Ramirez, an employee in the city communications office.
Nice people make nice places, and there is no nicer place than the City of Crosses. From the folks who throw in a few extra roasted green chiles when you’re buying them directly from the roaster, to the runners who wave good morning to you as you pass them on your way to work—Las Cruces, New Mexico is FULL of nice people. Located in the southern part of the State of New Mexico, Las Cruces sits just about 45 minutes from Texas and Mexico. You’ll hear a lot of “hellos,” “good mornings,” “buenos dias,” “pleases,” and “gracias” while you’re here, all from smiling faces.
Such an excellent article and recognition for Las Cruces!
Read the rest of the articles using this link: read more at rd.com
Photo COURTESY JAMILA GILBERT