Scottsdale hotel contracted by federal government to house migrants

A vacant hotel is temporarily housing migrants who are in the process of seeking asylum in the U.S.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Migrant families seeking asylum are temporarily being housed at a Scottsdale hotel, and it’s all part of a partnership the federal government made with a Texas-based non-profit back in March.

As the southwest border began to see an influx of people arriving and attempting to cross the border, immigration facilities where migrants are processed quickly became saturated.

To help alleviate the flow among the migrants seeking asylum, one of the many immigration processing avenues a person encountered at the border can go through, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement partnered with Endeavors to provide “Emergency Family Reception Sites (EFRS) along the U.S. southwest border.

These sites essentially provide temporary shelter and processing services for families continuing their immigration proceedings.

Under an $86.9 million contract, 1,239 hotel beds are being provided for migrant families for generally less than three days.

“Without the additional EFRS facilities and services, the Government will be seriously injured as it is currently not prepared to address the large influx of asylum seekers, which requires housing and processing of the claims for the vulnerable populations,” read the contract that was awarded on March 16.

The story:

Vacant Scottsdale hotel temporarily housing asylum seekers

The newest hotel to provide housing, transportation and medical attention to families who are seeking asylum in the United States is in Scottsdale.

The property had been vacant for several months as it’s going through bankruptcy and in the process of getting zoning authorization to be turned into an apartment building, the Arizona Republic reported.

According to ICE, this new Scottsdale site is not for additional beds. It’s still for that original number of 1,239 hotel beds.

The federal contract specifically states hotels in El Paso and Cotulla, TX, and in Chandler, AZ would be set up at the start of the agreement, as well as in “other areas as needed.”

A spokesperson for ICE said as long there is a need for more hotel beds, up to 1,239 will be established in any area.

Concerns among some residents in Scottsdale forced the city to issue a statement Tuesday, saying in part “Scottsdale has no current authority to prevent the hotel from being rented for these immigrant families.”

The city also said they were notified about a hotel contract in their community on Friday, May 28. That’s one day before the hotel began temporarily housing the migrant families.

“Immigration is a federal matter, over which the city has no responsibility or oversight,” the statement said.

Police activity remained normal in Phoenix hotels housing migrants

The arrival of migrants in hotels in communities across the Valley also brought questions and concerns about issues for police and crimes among some residents. But statistics do not reflect any change.

12 News looked into calls for service in the area of the two hotels in Phoenix where families began to be housed as they continue their immigration proceedings since back in April.

Phoenix police data show 911 calls are typical compared to the last five years in those neighborhoods.

It’s legal to cross the border and seek asylum in the US

A person can legally seek asylum by reaching the United States or arriving at a port of entry, which was incorporated into international law following World War II and adopted into U.S. immigration law when it passed the Refugee Act of 1980, according to the International Rescue Committee.

The IRC also states that people arriving at the U.S. border have the right to request asylum without being criminalized, turned back, or separated from their children—even during a pandemic.

The number of people encountered at the U.S. border by agents reached a 21-year high in March, where the numbers have remained steady.

Although April only saw a three percent increase, migration cycles indicate the trend will slow down during the hot summer months.

The contract for housing migrants in hotel beds is set to end on September 20.

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