Arizona cities bracing for release of migrants onto the streets

As federal money for housing runs dry, Arizona cities are bracing for the release of migrants onto the streets.

Morgan Loew

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs says her office is working with city and county governments, nonprofits, and Customs and Border Protection officials in an effort to avoid what could soon become a crisis: a flood of asylum-seekers released onto the streets with no place to go.

“We are at a crucial juncture,” said Hobbs on Thursday.

Earlier in the week, she sent a letter to the chairpersons of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees asking for $752 million for CBP’s Shelter and Services Program, which funds nonprofits that keep asylum-seekers off the street.

Hobbs also advocated for the House to pass the bipartisan Immigration Security bill that the Senate considered earlier this spring, which would also provide funds for asylum-seekers.

Since 2019, Pima County has used federal funds to temporarily house and then transport asylum-seekers out of the state, where they would stay with asylum sponsors or relatives. To date, the program has moved more than 400,000 asylum seekers through Arizona and onto their final destinations.

These are people who are deemed to have valid asylum claims after an initial interview with CBP officers and have a date set in immigration court for an asylum hearing. Due to the current backlog, those court dates are now roughly three years into the future.


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March 2024