Cochise County Sheriff addresses migrant releases in Bisbee and Douglas

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 3:31 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:49 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Today, September 14, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels held a news conference with other city and law enforcement leaders to discuss recent migrant releases.

The news conference was held at the new border operations center in Sierra Vista and included the Cochise County Attorney and the mayors of Sierra Vista, Douglas, Huachuca and more.

The sheriff said, “Right now, I’m seeing the ugly side of the border.”

Officials said they found out about the releases yesterday and the county does not have the resources to handle it.

They said dealing with border offenses has cost the county $6 million in the last 18 months.

“It’s sad that you’re going to release migrants into a community that doesn’t have basic essentials,” Sheriff Dannels said.

So far, the releases are happening in both Douglas and Bisbee. In Douglas, more than 100 migrants were dropped off yesterday. In Bisbee, 41 migrants were dropped off Wednesday, with 16 more as of 1:45 p.m.

During yesterday’s release, 13 News cameras caught migrants being dropped off in a Safeway parking lot in Bisbee. Later that same day, a school bus pulled in to drop off children in that same spot.

“I’ve got texts in my pocket saying, ‘Oh, well, DPS is only releasing at a transportation hub.’ Well, I’m sorry but my Safeway is not a transportation hub. It’s a bus stop for my little local bus,” Bisbee Mayor Ken Budge said during the press conference.

According to CBP, they don’t have an exact reason for why that Safeway was chosen. But did later confirm they do try to choose locations out of convenience.

During the conference, Sheriff Dannels said a lot of the migrants didn’t even cross the border in Cochise County. He said they were being bused here to be dropped off.

“These immediate releases was a surprise to all of us today when it came to that, what I’m being told. It’s not going to get better,” Dannel said.

He noted that because of capacity limits, the migrants are going through “expedited” processes to get them released faster.

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