TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Biden Administration is turning to FEMA for resources to help manage and care for record numbers of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the southern border into the U.S. to claim asylum.
FEMA will support a government wide effort over the next three months to safely receive, shelter, and transfer migrant children who arrive alone. Tucson Mayor, Regina Romero said the city is ready to take action. “We are working as a coalition, non-profits, local governments to do what’s best for our community,” said Romero.
She said the $110 million dollars that’s part of the humanitarian aid program under the American Rescue Plan is crucial. This funding is helping cover the necessary expenses at least for now.
Mayor Romero said food costs are estimated to be $12 per person, per day. That’s that’s $14,000 for 160 asylum-seekers. Housing is estimated at about $80 dollars per day – per room. Totaling $90,000 for 160 people in total. “To be able to cover that and then the movement of these individuals from the Welcoming Center, to their hotel rooms to ultimately where they go in the United States,” said Romero.
Supervisor for ‘Keep Tucson Together’ Margo Cowan tells us the government’s actions on this matter is long overdue. She emphasized that detention centers are not the appropriate place for minors.
“So that it provides a safe haven for children, you know children must be processed within 72 hours, but they are being held for longer than that,” said Cowan.
It’s still unclear at this time if FEMA will send additional manpower to the southwest border to help assist CBP or HHS and if there will be temporary shelters put in place in the state.
The last time FEMA was mobilized to the border to help with the influx in minors crossing the border was in 2014 under the Obama administration.