TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - More asylum-seeking families have been arriving at the DeConcini Port of Entry in the recent weeks.
Back in July, Tucson News Now told you about families lining up along the port.
Volunteers said the number of families arriving returned to normal toward the end of the summer. However, they are starting to see a new surge.
The families come from all walks of life, many from Central America. Volunteers said Russian and Ukrainian families are even showing up.
Angel Romero traveled with his wife, children and grandkids from the Mexican state of Guerrero.
"To help the kids who need the most help and ourselves, too, of course,” he said in Spanish.
He said his home town is plagued with violence and poverty.
Jezer Lopez Ramirez is waiting at the port with his wife and two sons.
He said he’s leaving behind a bad life in Guatemala.
“To give my kids a better future. We have two kids and we don’t want them to suffer like we did,” he said in Spanish.
Some of the families at the port said they had been waiting for four days, others weeks.
Border Patrol said agents are processing the families as quickly as they can accept them.
The agency released this statement:
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers document asylum claims at the ports of entry. They then process the claimant and turn them over to ICE’s enforcement and removal officer, ERO, who holds them to be presented to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, for their initial review of the asylum claim. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the ports of entry make no assessment to the merits of the asylum claim. They simply open the case file, take a sworn statement, and complete the paperwork procedures and then turn the individuals or the family units over to ICE ERO as quickly as they can accept them. CBP officers do not turn away individuals seeking asylum at ports of entry, and do not deny claims at the ports of entry. It is CBPs policy to keep family units together while at the ports of entry to the extent that is operationally feasible in accordance to law, rules, and regulations.”
While the families wait, organizations like the Kino Border Initiative provide lunch and entertainment for the children.
Volunteers are anticipating even more families on the heels of the news of a refugee cap going into effect on the first of this upcoming year.