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Haitian refugees begin arriving in Tucson

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 7:48 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Because so many Haitians who have arrived on the US and Mexican border in Texas, some are being sent to Tucson for processing by the Border Patrol.

It’s estimated nearly 15,000 Haitian refugees are living under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, more than the Border Patrol can process.

Some are arriving in Tucson by bus while other’s are arriving by air. The groups receiving them say that it’s fairly intermittent and the numbers are unpredictable.

Officials declined to say just how many have arrived in Tucson in the past few days, because there’s some concern about how well received they may be.

They are being processed at the border patrol detention facility which was opened in April near the airport.

Once they are processed, they are then sent to Casa Alitas, a shelter run by Catholic Community Services, which told us this afternoon this is not going to be a long term operation.

They say it will short term until the pressure is relieved along the border in Texas.

The Haitians, once they arrive, will be in Tucson for only a short time.

“When somebody arrives here, either in the Haitian group or Central American group, they’re here for a day or two maximum,” said Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik. “They’re here until we can get then with their next of kin or sponsors.”

The Department of Homeland Security sent us a statement this afternoon which says DHS continues to expel migrants and those who do not have a legal basis to remain are placed in expedited or full removal proceedings.

It was DHS which asked Catholic Community Services to help clear up the mess in Texas and once that’s done things should get back to normal.

“This is a blip on the radar screen because of he conditions everybody has seen in Texas,” Kozachik said. “Once we decompress those numbers, we will be back to Central Americans solely.”

He says the situation here in Tucson “is something that is manageable.”

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