As the end of a COVID-19 era immigration policy draws closer, local shelters and officials are preparing for the influx of migrants. Title 42 allowed authorities to turn away migrants at the border, sending them back to their home countries or Mexico.
Pima County Supervisor Chair Adelita Grijalva said the county and their community partners are preparing to do what they can for the incoming migrants.
“We estimate that right now there will be about about 300 migrants a day but that could be up to 1,500 a day,” she said.
She said Title 42 was a band-aid, not a real solution to the issues surrounding the border and immigration.
“All we are trying to do is deal with the consequences of the federal government,” she said. “Consequences that we have no influence on or say in.”
One of the community partners that is preparing their shelter for migrants is Casa Alitas. Grijalva said they have about 600 beds available for migrants and are ready to help them in any way.
“And then they have the opportunity to eat and shower because many have been traveling for a long time,” she said. “And then we ask them where is their final destination.”
She said many of the migrants in the shelter already are from across the world.
“I just did a tour of Casa Alitas and many of the people were from India,” Grijalva said. “Everyone has a destination and Tucson isn’t it.”
While funds for COVID-19 relief ended, money for humanitarian aid and programs like Casa Alitas is still coming from the federal government, Grijalva said.
“This is not something that was allocated to Pima County and we’re taking it out of the general fund and providing these services,” she said. “This is funding completely from the federal government. We were just informed that we will be receiving another $19 million and we hope this will sustain us through October.”