Southwest Key program conducts mass layoffs due to recent decline in immigration

Southwest Key employees throughout the state were unexpectedly laid off on Thursday.

Southwest Key employees throughout the state were unexpectedly laid off on Thursday.

A former Southwest Key employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke exclusively to CBS 4 New about the mass layoffs within the company.

"If our name was to be called, we would be sitting down,” said a former employee. “If our name was not called, they we were able to go back to our work site."

The former employee said employees knew for weeks that that the layoffs were coming, but the day came sooner than expected.

"That we would have a job until May 31st,” said the former employee. ”They were going to find out on Monday how many to let go, but the last day would be May 31st."

Southwest Key programs said in a statement:

"Due to a significant decline in the amount of children coming across our country's border in recent months, Southwest Key programs has been instructed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to reduce capacity at our unaccompanied children's services program by 48 percent, which resulted in the need to reduce staffing."

The Office of Refugee Resettlement is a program of the administration for children and families.

The former employee said fear is keeping children from crossing into the U.S.

"A lot of these children are afraid to come into the United States because of what they hear in the news, with whatever the president is saying,” said the former employee.

Despite Thursday’s layoffs, Southwest Key programs stated they were grateful to the individuals who worked to further the mission of the organization in service of the children.

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