By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/30/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Over the past several days, scores of undocumented immigrants from Central America have dropped in Tucson and Phoenix via Greyhound Bus. Authorities say that the immigrants were flown to Arizona from south Texas.
Humanitarian groups are concerned that immigration officials are dropping migrants off at bus stations to fend for themselves without food, water and basic necessities.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Federal officials flew about 400 migrants caught in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to Tucson to be processed. Andy Adame, a spokesman for the Border Patrol in Tucson said the migrants were flown to Arizona because the Border Patrol does not have enough manpower to handle a surge in illegal immigrants in south Texas.
The incident has drawn expressions of outrage on either side of the U.S. immigration issue. Those who oppose illegal immigration say this practice will now allow migrants will now disappear into the U.S., spurring even more to come illegally.
Hunger never takes a vacation --
"This is a huge concern," Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform says. His group, based in Washington, D.C., advocates for more immigration and border enforcement.
"This is exactly the incentive for people to cross the border illegally," he said.
On the other side of the debate, humanitarian groups are concerned that immigration officials are dropping migrants off at bus stations to fend for themselves without food, water and basic necessities.
"It's not safe, health wise and we are concerned for their physical safety," Cyndi Whitmore, a volunteer with the Phoenix Restoration Project says. Her group has been going to the bus terminal in Phoenix to help.
Whitmore says that she went to the Greyhound station on Buckeye Road earlier this week and found 50 women and young children who had just been released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Among the children were infants as young as six months old.
"Some of the kids were crying," Whitmore said. "Some were infants that weren't fully clothed. They didn't have diapers. They didn't have formula."
A volunteer family advocate in Tucson, Laurie Melrood, says that ICE has been dropping off small numbers of migrants at the Greyhound bus station there for about seven months.
Melrood says that this week ICE dropped off about 70 people on Monday, followed by another 90 on Tuesday and at least 60 on Wednesday. All of the migrants dropped off this week were women and children. In the past, most were adult men and women.
"The conditions under which they are released are inadequate and inhumane," she says.
Volunteers in Phoenix and Tucson have been going to the bus stations to help the migrants make arrangements to buy bus tickets to travel to relatives in other cities. They also have been providing food, water and other necessities.
South Texas is currently the chief entrance for illegal immigration along the Southwest border with Mexico. Border Patrol arrests in the Tucson Sector have plummeted in recent years but have soared in the Rio Grande Valley.
ICE officials said the migrants being released are families apprehended by the Border Patrol trying to enter the U.S. illegally. After screening, they are being released under supervision and then required to report to a local ICE office near their destination within 15 days.
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