DHS To Stop Sending Illegals to Arizona

Friday, 06 Jun 2014 11:36 AM

By Joe Battaglia

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Guatemalan government officials have been told by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that it will cease transporting undocumented migrants from Texas to Arizona.

The DHS began transporting hundreds of undocumented immigrants from southern Texas to Arizona over Memorial Day weekend and then releasing them at Greyhound bus stations in Tucson and Phoenix because the Border Patrol lacked the manpower to handle the surge of immigrants from Central America who crossed the border illegally into the Rio Grande Valley.

Jimena Diaz, the Phoenix-based consul general of Guatemala, told the Arizona Republic  that she was informed by an official from the Phoenix office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Thursday that, "They aren't going to send any more" families from Texas to Arizona.

Ruben Reyes, a spokesman for Rep. Raul Grijalva, told NBC 12 News that ICE officials had confirmed that no more migrant families are being flown from Texas to Arizona.

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The practice of transporting immigrants across state borders has prompted outrage on a number of fronts.

According to the Arizona Republic, Gov. Jan Brewer complained that DHS officials never informed her or state officials before making the decision to transfer the migrants. On Monday, she sent a letter to President Obama attacking his administration's decision to transport these illegal immigrants from Texas to Arizona.

"I am deeply concerned about this troubling policy and the adverse impact on the illegal aliens, as well as to Arizona," Brewer wrote.

On Tuesday, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake are demanding answers from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. In a letter, they asked for more information about how many migrants have been transported to Arizona bus stations, why they are being released, and how the DHS plans to respond to migrants who disappear into the U.S. or commit crimes after their release.

According to the Arizona Republic, all of the immigrants they interviewed at the bus stations hailed from Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras. Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world, according to an April report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. El Salvador ranks fourth and Guatemala fifth.

Meanwhile, Brewer and humanitarian groups have raised concern for the well-being of the migrants, who have been dumped at the bus stations in 100-degree heat without money, food, or water, carrying their belongings in plastic bags.

"I remind you that the daytime temperatures in Arizona during this time of year are regularly more than 100 degrees," Brewer wrote in her letter to the president. "Consequently, this federal operation seems to place expedience over basic humanitarian concerns."

Volunteers have been providing the migrants, mostly women and children, with those basic necessities and helping them make travel arrangements to reunite with family members after being released on humanitarian parole.

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