TUCSON, Ariz. — Calling it dangerous and unconscionable, Arizona Gov. Jan
Brewer on Monday sent a letter to President Barack Obama criticizing reports
that immigration officials sent migrant families from Texas to Arizona, later
dropping them off at Greyhound stations in Phoenix and Tucson.
“As governor of Arizona, I am deeply concerned about this troubling policy and
the adverse impact on the illegal aliens, as well as to Arizona,” she wrote.
Brewer was also alarmed that federal officials did not notify state and local
“Our nation and the state of Arizona face significant challenges stemming from
your administration’s refusal to carry out its responsibility to secure our
country’s southern border. State and local governments, law enforcement
agencies, health care providers and nonprofit organizations are all stretched to
the breaking point attempting to manage the enormity of these challenges,”
Brewer said, adding that sending migrants to Arizona exacerbates the problem.
However, border crossing apprehensions in Arizona have significantly dropped
over the last year as they’ve spiked in Texas.
From October 2013 to May 17, agents in the Rio Grande Valley made more than
148,000 arrests, compared with 63,000 arrests in the Tucson sector. But the Rio
Grande Valley has about 1,000 fewer agents than Tucson.
The shortage of resources came to a head over Memorial Day weekend, when border
agents in the Rio Grande Valley saw a surge in families with children crossing
They flew more than 400 of those families to Tucson, where border agents
processed the migrants and transferred them to of Immigrations and Customs
ICE then dropped the migrants off by the busload at the Greyhound station in
Tucson. The station became overwhelmed and ICE began transferring some migrants
to the Phoenix station.
The groups of migrants included hundreds of women with children ranging from
months old to pre-teens. They were initially dropped off without any food or
supplies, but humanitarian organizations like the Phoenix Restoration Project
deployed volunteers who helped the migrants to navigate the bus station and
supplied food, diapers and medical care.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said he takes issue with the feds essentially dumping immigrants into Arizona.
“All they have to do is sign a promise to appear in 15 or 30 days to the court. This is insanity,” Babeu said. “These people (that) have come from foreign countries have broke the law, and we’re not enforcing the law on them.
“This is the most insane, frustrating process — to be in law enforcement and to have our own federal government work at cross-purposes directly against us.”
Brewer was highly critical of the federal government’s decision to drop off the
“I remind you that the daytime temperatures in Arizona during this time of
year are regularly more than 100 degrees. Consequently, this federal operation
seems to place expediency over basic humanitarian concerns. The federal
government should not shirk its lawful responsibility to care for and properly
process these individuals,” Brewer wrote.