McSally looks to improve coordination with immigrants released in Arizona

Apr 1, 2019, 1:56 PM | Updated: 2:35 pm

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Martha McSally said a Monday roundtable event with immigration and border officials was a launching point to improve coordination related to immigrants released from federal custody into Arizona.

McSally said the event at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s downtown Phoenix field office will address privacy concerns with immigrants’ information that is released to nonprofits.

“I wanted to immediately kind of improve the relationships, the coordination, the communication across all of these communities,” McSally told reporters.

“Because this is happening today, and tomorrow, and the next day. We’ve got to make sure we streamline and we can do the best we can to help out these individuals.”

McSally said a number of other topics were also raised during the roundtable, including establishing physical barriers, more technology and an increased number of agents at the border.

Mesa Mayor John Giles and Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls were among the participants. Their cities have been frequent dropping-off points for migrants released from federal custody or detention.

Phoenix ICE field office director Enrique Lucero, Customs and Border Patrol director of field operations for Tucson Field Office Guadalupe Ramirez and representatives from charitable organizations were also invited.

Last week, McSally wrote Homeland Security Secretary Kirjsten Nielsen, to “register my deep concerns regarding the releases of large groups of migrants into Arizona neighborhoods and the impact of those releases on local communities.”

McSally went to “urge DHS to examine its current efforts to coordinate with (non-governmental organizations) and state and local governments to identify potential areas for improvement.”

ICE released 18,500 immigrants from federal detention into Arizona over a three-month period.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos the security agencies’ “dropping off asylum seekers and refugees with no forewarning, doing it at bus stops and random locations, is just no way to run a government.”

Border agents were on track to make 100,000 arrests and denials of entry at the southern border in March, over half of which are families with children.

To manage the crush, Customs and Border Protection is reassigning 750 border inspectors from their usual port duties to help Border Patrol keep pace with arrivals in between ports of entry.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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McSally looks to improve coordination with immigrants released in Arizona