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Metro Phoenix hotels to start housing migrant families released by ICE

(Google Maps Screenshot)

PHOENIX — Hotels in metro Phoenix will start housing migrant families released by immigration officials as early as this week.

The Washington Examiner reported the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Phoenix/Chandler in Ahwatukee will accept more than 200 migrants starting Friday, and the SureStay by Best Western Phoenix Airport will make 142 beds available starting April 30.

A Texas-based nonprofit called Endeavors will manage those hotels and provide other services for migrants under a short-term contract it has with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“ICE is committed to housing families in a manner consistent with legal requirements for the safety and well-being of children and their parents or guardians,” ICE said in a statement emailed to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The nearly $86.9 million contract obtained by KTAR News will cover 1,239 hotel beds in Texas and Arizona. The hotels will serve as Emergency Family Reception Sites (EFRS) up to Sept. 30, when the contract is scheduled to end.

The migrants’ stay at the hotels are meant to be short term, generally less than 72 hours.

During their stay, they will be provided “appropriate family recreational activities in each individual room, meal services, laundry, cultural and legal orientation…and trauma-informed care.”

They will also be provided legal services, such as help enrolling in one of ICE’s alternatives to detention programs, and transportation to airports and bus stations.

All families will receive a comprehensive health assessment that includes COVID-19 testing and a place to quarantine for those who test positive.

According to the contract, these services are needed “because of an unexpected influx of families at the Southwest border.” The projected encounters for family units and unaccompanied minors this fiscal year are expected to be the highest in more than 20 years.

“It is because of this unusual and compelling urgency that the government requires the EFRSs to meet the critical mission requirements of housing, feeding, transporting, and providing medical attention to these thousands of asylum-seeking families along the southwest border,” immigration officials stated in the contract.

A spokeswoman for Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego told KTAR News that U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials had only advised the mayor’s staff “that area hotels would be used to house intact family units.” No specific hotels had been mentioned.

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s office said it had been made aware of plans to have several hotels along the southwest border, including in Chandler and Phoenix, house migrant families.

In a statement sent to KTAR News, her office said Sinema “is working to ensure the administration takes meaningful steps to support our border communities and NGOs, secure the border, prevent the spread of COVID-19, and treat all migrants and unaccompanied children fairly and humanely.”

“Sen. Sinema spoke directly with DHS Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas and has called on the department to provide more resources in Arizona to manage the flow of migrants,” the statement added.

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