Nonprofits plan to return to renting hotel rooms to help keep up with the number of migrant families coming through Tucson and avoid having some of them dropped off by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at local bus stations.
“The shelters are full right now,” said Teresa Cavendish, director of operations for Catholic Community Services. “Hopefully it will relieve enough of a backlog for ICE that they just don’t need to take people to a bus station or do a street release.”
In October, Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector apprehended 1,163 parents and their children, up from 170 during the same period last year. In Yuma, agents apprehended 2,625 family units, up from 880 in the same period last year. Another 861 parents and their children presented themselves at Arizona ports of entry last month.
The nonprofits were told it was part of a new practice in which ICE would prioritize the most vulnerable migrants for space in shelters: women traveling with children and fathers traveling with children 3 years old and younger. Migrant fathers traveling with older children would be set free outside of ICE offices or dropped off at a bus station.