Texas migrants flown to Tucson

Migrants from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas are flown to Tucson for treatment.

The Department of Homeland Security has a long history of so-called lateral transfers, a practice that sends apprehended migrants from a place with little capacity to process and care for them, to a place with more capacity.

Moving migrants to Arizona is nothing new, shelters in Tucson and Phoenix have been receiving asylum seekers from Yuma for months. But this week, on the sidelines of a press conference, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the county now also hosts families from Texas.

“What is happening is that the Rio Grande Valley is at full capacity, and so the Department of Homeland Security is now flying asylum seekers for treatment in other parts of the country, and we are there. ‘one of those other places,’ he said. “We currently have a capacity, we are dealing with all of ours through Casas Alitas, which is a county facility, and through contracts with hotels and motels.”

Casa Alitas is a Tucson shelter run by Catholic Community Services. Huckleberry said about 130 migrants have arrived from Texas so far, and said that at the moment Pima County facilities have the capacity to help. Casa Alitas administered COVID tests, providing vaccines and housing for 40 to 130 migrants per day from various ports in Arizona.

An Arizona Customs and Border Protection spokesperson confirmed the transfers from Tucson and said migrants from Texas are flown to Tucson and processed at a border patrol facility in town before being handed over to local NGOs, sent to migrant detention centers or sent back across the border in Mexico. under heading 42.

Christopher Conover contributed to this report.

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