Sunland Park, New Mexico

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Sunland Park, New Mexico
Statue of Christ the King (by Urbici Soler) on Mount Cristo Rey in Sunland Park
Statue of Christ the King (by Urbici Soler) on Mount Cristo Rey in Sunland Park
Official seal of Sunland Park, New Mexico
Location of Sunland Park, New Mexico
Location of Sunland Park, New Mexico
Sunland Park, New Mexico is located in the United States
Sunland Park, New Mexico
Sunland Park, New Mexico
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 31°48′24″N 106°34′48″W / 31.80667°N 106.58000°W / 31.80667; -106.58000Coordinates: 31°48′24″N 106°34′48″W / 31.80667°N 106.58000°W / 31.80667; -106.58000
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
CountyDona Ana
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • MayorJavier Perea
 • City ManagerJulia Brown, Esq.
 • City ClerkDaniel Carranco
 • Total15.01 sq mi (38.88 km2)
 • Land14.74 sq mi (38.17 km2)
 • Water0.27 sq mi (0.71 km2)
3,789 ft (1,155 m)
 • Total16,702
 • Density1,133.26/sq mi (437.55/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP codes
Area code575
FIPS code35-75640
GNIS feature ID0920024

Sunland Park is a city in southern Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States, on the borders of Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua, with Ciudad Juárez adjoining it on the south and El Paso, Texas on the east. The community of Santa Teresa adjoins it on the northwest. The population of Sunland Park was 14,106 at the 2010 census[3] and was estimated at 17,978 by the United States Census Bureau in 2019.[4] Though it lies adjacent to El Paso, being in Doña Ana County makes it a part of the Las Cruces metropolitan statistical area. Las Cruces is 42 miles (68 km) to the north.

The city is at the foot of Mount Cristo Rey, next to the Rio Grande, and is named for Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino, which lies within the city limits. The location was formerly called "Anapra", a name shared by an adjacent area of Ciudad Juárez.


Sunland Park was formed when the unincorporated communities of Anapra, Sunland Park, and Meadow Vista voted to incorporate as Sunland Park on July 13, 1983.

2012 extortion scandal[edit]

In February 2012, then-Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Salinas and City Manager Jaime Aguilera were arrested and charged with extortion of mayoral candidate Gerardo Hernandez. Salinas and Aguilera allegedly tried to blackmail Hernandez into withdrawing from the race with a videotape of Hernandez receiving a lap dance in his campaign office.

An election for mayor was held in March 2012, with Daniel Salinas winning the mayor's office, but he was denied taking office due to extortion, bribery, and election fraud charges filed against him, which disqualified him from taking an oath of office.[5]

Border barrier[edit]

A private organization, named We Build The Wall built a 1/2 mile wall on at the border of Sunland Park and Mexico in 2019.[6] Privately financed using a GoFundMe campaign, the wall was built on private property but the gate they constructed blocked access needed to maintain a federal dam.[7] The barrier also blocked access to Monument One, an official marker of the International Boundary and Water Commission that was set where New Mexico, Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua converge.[8]


According to the United States Census Bureau, Sunland Park has a total area of 11.6 square miles (30.1 km2), of which 11.4 square miles (29.5 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km2), or 2.02%, is covered by water.[3]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[9][2]

As of the census[10] of 2010, 14,267 people, 3,884 households, and 3,314 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,260.6 people per mi2 (486.6/km2). The 4,131 housing units averaged 342.6 per mi2 (132.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 76.00% White, 0.63% African American, 0.51% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 26.02% from other races, and 2.76% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 96.44% of the population.

Of the 3,884 households, 44.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55% were married couples living together, 24% had a female householder with no husband present, and 11.5% were not families. About 12.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.63 and the average family size was 3.97.

In the city, the population was distributed as 37.5% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 20 to 24, 7.6% from 25 to 29, 6.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.4 males.


On August 2, 2012, Javier Perea was reappointed as Mayor of Sunland Park. He began his official duties on April 18, 2012. At the urging of the State of New Mexico, the city conducted a search for the position of City Manager.

On December 17, 2013, Vernon Wilson was selected to fill the long-vacant position. He was a retired U.S. Army officer whose other government service included over 10 years as Manager of the nearby Dona Ana County International Jetport. His first day of employment was January 1, 2014.[11]


Sunland Park is served by the Gadsden Independent School District, which operates these schools located in the city:

  • Santa Teresa High School
  • Santa Teresa Middle School
  • Desert View Elementary School
  • Riverside Elementary School
  • Sunland Park Elementary School

Sunland Park also has a branch campus of Doña Ana Community College, a two-year college branch of New Mexico State University.


Water is supplied by the Camino Real Regional Utility Authority.[12]

Points of interest[edit]

Western Playland Amusement Park


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Oct 12, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Sunland Park city, New Mexico". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  4. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  5. ^ rnikolewski, [1], Capital Report - New Mexico, May 1, 2012
  6. ^ Jacobo, Julia (August 8, 2019). "Group behind privately funded border wall under criminal investigation". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  7. ^ REILLY, KATIE (June 12, 2019). "The GoFundMe Border Wall in New Mexico Has Been Ordered Open During the Day". Time. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  8. ^ MARTINEZ, AARON; MONTES, AARON (May 30, 2019). "Cease and desist lifted, work on privately funded border wall will continue". El Paso Times. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-06-15.
  11. ^ Brian Fraga, [2], Las Cruces Sun-News, August 2, 2012
  12. ^ Gordon, Michael (2019-10-10). "Sunland Park, Santa Teresa residents surprised & angered over water bill increase". KVIA. Retrieved 2019-10-10.