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Tucson planning for future as surge in asylum seekers continues

TUCSON — Over the last several months, Tucson has seen a surge in migrants getting dropped off in the city from Central America.

“Over the last eight years, Catholic Community Services, I believe they’ve done this service for 8,000 people,” Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said. “In the last seven months, they’ve done this service for 6,000.”

The city recently opened a community center on the south side and Pima County opened a shelter.
Rothschild tells News 4 Tucson, the number of asylum seekers setting foot into the city, changes from day to day.

“It could change tonight,” he said. “We were probably at a full count of 140 or 150 people. People are here for only a few days at a time so when you hear 200 are coming in, there may well be 150 going out the same day.”

Right now, Rothschild said taxpayer dollars used to house the migrants are being kept at a minimum.

“We’ve had a lot of volunteers from the city and the county,” the mayor said. “You have to remember these people are here legally and if there is a taxpayer cost, think of it as a public safety cost. For the safety of these visitors to our community who are strangers to our land.”

The city reached out to the Salvation Army with the hope the organization can provide some expertise.

“They have a volunteer crew that does work similar to this in finding temporary housing,” Rothschild said. “They’re putting their rosters together. As we need additional sites, we also need people who are trained and can manage those sites, so Salvation Army is going to try to do that.”

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