County, city leaders react after Supervisors approve plan to house migrants

(Arizona's Family)
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 8:15 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A big box building on Tucson’s southside will be another location where migrants will be sent to when, or if, Title 42 gets lifted.

During a meeting Tuesday, Dec. 20, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved renting the building for six months for around $330,000, but leaders say that will probably be extended.

However, the building won’t be ready for 30-60 days. It will be able to fit around 400 beds inside for people being brought to Tucson by Homeland Security.

This will be the stopping off point for migrants for a day or two, before being released to their families or permanent homes as they wait for their court date.

Supervisor Steve Christy was the lone vote against leasing this building.

”At some point, the only way to stop this influx of people is to make it less attractive for them. That is only going to be attainable by stopping the funding,” Christy said.

Supervisor Dr. Matt Heinz supported renting the building.

”The concern that was presented to us by the county administrator was pretty clear, if we keep doing the smaller more individualized solutions like a few hotels rooms here and a few hotel rooms there, that would put us at risk of not getting reimbursed for the county dollars that we are spending on this at the behest of the federal government,” Heinz said.

Heinz added that the county gets reimbursed by the federal government for anything and everything on behalf of asylum seekers. That includes things like housing, healthcare, food and transportation. That money comes from taxpayers from all across the country, not just here in southern Arizona.

Meanwhile, Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik is in favor of the building but he doesn’t think it’s enough.

“The added capacity is necessary even without Title 42 being lifted,” he said. “It’s another example of where the federal government needs to write a lump sum check so the county has the working capital to buy and outfit the space.”