U.S. immigration agencies are so overloaded with the influx of arriving migrants that they're housing detainees in Arizona motels, The New York Times reported Thursday.
A record 16,658 migrants were apprehended by Border Patrol in September, in part due to the skyrocketing number of people arriving at the southern border, and in part due to the Trump administration's effort to detain and prosecute a higher proportion of migrants.
"So many people are crossing the border — for the first time ever, we're putting them up in hotels,” Teresa Cavendish, director of operations for the nonprofit group Catholic Community Services told the Times. “I've not seen this in all my years working on this effort.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement coordinated with the nonprofit to drop 140 migrants at a "seedy motel" between two highways in Tuscon, Times reporter Miriam Jordan explained. The motel was transformed into a makeshift migrant shelter, offering the same services to migrants that other detention facilities do. Most migrants, who arrived at the motel in unmarked ICE vans, only planned to stay for one or two nights, just until relatives in the U.S. could send them bus tickets elsewhere.
Migrant shelters have quickly reached capacity in recent weeks in Arizona, prompting churches and nonprofits to open their doors to travelers. Advocacy organizations say hundreds of detained immigrants have been released every week because of the shortage of space and beds. "At this stage, there is no telling when this will slow," said Cavendish. "It doesn't feel like it's going to go down any time soon." Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza