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Kyrsten Sinema Says DHS ‘Accountable’ for Public Safety as Migrants Begin Staying in Hotels

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Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema said Friday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be held accountable for ensuring community safety, as tens of thousands of migrant family members begin staying at hotels near the Mexico border.

Sinema said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is beginning an $89.6 million contract program this week that will temporarily house migrant families in Texas and Arizona hotels. Migrant families are expected to stay no more than 72 hours as they await processing, although ICE officials have declined to say exactly where these rooms will be located in the two border states.

Sinema told the Associated Press Friday that she spoke with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whom she expects to uphold both the safety of the local communities as well as the humane treatment of immigrants.

“[Mayorkas and DHS will be held] accountable for protecting Arizona communities and ensuring all migrants are treated fairly and humanely,” Sinema’s office told the AP in an article published Saturday.

“[The ICE program] will occupy several hotels along the southwest border, including in Chandler and Phoenix,” the Arizona senator’s statement continued.

ICE officials have an $86.9 million contract with Endeavors Inc. that allocates 1,200 hotel rooms for temporary migrant processing along the U.S. southern border. Based in San Antonio, Texas, the company is a provider of veterans care, disaster relief and migrant services that already has hotel beds in the Texas cities of El Paso and Cotulla.

U.S. Border Patrol data released last month said agents had encounters with 52,904 families along the Mexican border in March alone. That number is more than twice the 19,286 who arrived in February. The contract between the U.S. federal government agencies and Endeavors expects the highest number of family arrivals in two decades before the end of September.

In March 2020, Border Patrol said they encountered just 3,455 migrant families along the border.

Several local officials, including Mayor Chris Riggs of Gila Bend, Arizona, have blamed Sinema and other federal lawmakers for “dropping off” migrant families in towns that don’t have the resources to house them. Riggs told KTAR-TV last month that Sinema helped organize an effort that moved several dozen migrant families into Gila Bend with only hours notice from Border Patrol.

“I’ve got nothing here, I’ve got no shelter, nowhere to put them,” Riggs said. “Literally, they’d be sleeping at the park and I’m not going to do that to little children.”

The Liberty Buzz reached out Sinema’s office for comment.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema said the DHS will be held “accountable” for community safety as migrants begin staying in hotels near the Mexico border. Here the Arizona Democrat attends a Senate hearing on March 4, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
DREW ANGERER / Staff/Getty Images

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