Delays for asylum seekers at Arizona border not explained by traffic data

More than 50 migrants, many from Guatemala, wait in a sectioned-off area at the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Sonora. Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star

The days of waiting for immigrants seeking asylum at the Nogales port of entry in May don’t appear to correspond to any significant increase in the number of people presenting themselves at the border.

The Tucson Field Office, which includes all ports of entry in Arizona, deemed inadmissible 1,792 people in May, which includes those seeking asylum, Customs and Border Protection data show. That’s an increase from previous months but similar to December figures. The share of families and unaccompanied minors among them has been between 62 and 67 percent over the last few months after peaking at 72 percent in December.

CBP has not responded to repeated requests for an interview to discuss the process and delays. Initially, it provided the Arizona Daily Star a written statement saying the agency processed people as quickly as possible “without negating the agency’s overall mission, or compromising the safety of individuals within our custody.”

The number of inadmissible individuals CBP is able to process varied based on factors such as the complexity of the case, available resources, medical needs, translation requirements, holding/detention space and port volume, the agency said.

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