Arizona gubernatorial candidate Salmon wants to build Tent City-like facility near southern border

Feb 2, 2022, 4:25 AM

Undocumented immigrants walk through the Maricopa County "Tent City Jail" to get exercise on April ...

Undocumented immigrants walk through the Maricopa County "Tent City Jail" to get exercise on April 30, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. (File Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(File Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon wants to build a Tent City-like facility near the southern border in an effort to slow migration numbers.

Salmon told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad on Tuesday that he’d want the facility to be in a port of entry city like Yuma or Douglas, or potentially Tucson.

The Republican said he’d want a new holding space for migrants because he doesn’t believe the federal government is doing enough to limit crossings.

“We can send a message that while Biden has put out a welcome mat for the rest of America, it doesn’t apply to Arizona,” Salmon said. “You come here and you break our laws, we’re going to arrest you.”

The controversial Tent City opened in Phoenix under former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 1993 and was closed by his successor Paul Penzone in 2017.

It was primarily used for low-level offenders and could house up to 2,000 prisoners while costing about $8 million to $9 million each year to run.

The facility drew criticism over its more than two-decade history, including during the summer of 2003 when a heatwave resulted in temperatures inside the tents reaching 145 degrees.

Salmon said the cost for incarceration is a lot less using a Tent City-like facility, adding he put together a team of people in law enforcement to advise him that is headed by former Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead.

“In Arizona, since the federal government is not taking care of its job, they’re not protecting our borders, that we have to step up to the plate,” Salmon said.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited with Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines last week and promised changes during his first appearance at the border in Arizona since taking over the position last year.

Gov. Doug Ducey and other leaders in Arizona have been critical of Mayorkas and the federal government’s response at the southern border, with the Republican governor calling for Mayorkas to resign after he visited the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Live music and DJ sets are one of the main attractions during the Whoopee Daze Festival this weeken...

David Veenstra

Whoopee Daze Festival arrives in Tolleson this weekend

The Whoopee Daze Festival returns to Tolleson this weekend. The three-day festival features a parade, carnival rides, food trucks and crafts.

34 minutes ago

southern Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly...

Associated Press

Trial of a southern Arizona rancher charged in fatal shooting of unarmed migrant goes to the jury

Closing arguments were made against a southern Arizona rancher accused of shooting an undocumented migrant on his land to death on Thursday.

1 hour ago

Operation Makeup Break Up...

Serena O'Sullivan

3 West Valley women accused of selling stolen merchandise out of their homes

Three West Valley women have been indicted for operating illicit businesses from their home using stolen merchandise, authorities said.

2 hours ago

Aircraft perform a flyover during the Global Premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick" on May 4, 2022 in San ...

David Veenstra

Scottsdale Airport to show ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ for its first movie night

Scottsdale Airport will offer a starlit screening of "Top Gun: Maverick" on Saturday with Tom Cruise soaring as a daring naval aviator.

5 hours ago

File photo of a prison fence with barbed wire on top. Broderrick Ramon Coggeshell was sentenced Mon...

Arizona drunk driver sentenced to 9 years in prison for causing fatal crash in 2022

An Arizona man was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison for causing a fatal crash in 2022 while driving drunk, authorities said.

7 hours ago

Preparations are underway for the Home & Garden Show's Floral Showcase at WestWorld of Scottsdale. ...

David Veenstra

Maricopa County Home and Garden Show’s new Floral Showcase coming to Scottsdale this weekend

The Maricopa County Home and Garden show's Floral Showcase is coming to the Valley for the first time this weekend.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Salmon wants to build Tent City-like facility near southern border