/ Modified may 15, 2023 6:54 p.m.

Pima, Tucson near capacity since end of policy to expel migrants

Migrant services have reached a record high since Title 42 ended last Thursday, though whether that will continue isn’t clear.

BP with Migrants Border Patrol agents process a group of nearly 250 migrants in Ajo, Arizona, on Wednesday, May 10.
Danyelle Khmara, AZPM

Pima County migrant services have been running at near capacity as Title 42 comes to an end, the public health policy used for the last three years to quickly expel undocumented migrants from the country.

The county has been “running on a razor’s edge” since Thursday, says spokesman Mark Evans.

Title 42 ended last Thursday night. The county was narrowly able to avoid street releases on Thursday before the policy ended, and on Friday.

“Heroic efforts on the part of the city, Casa Alitas, other partners, putting people into nooks and crannies, we were able to avoid them,” Evans says.

The city is leasing rooms in two hotels, on top of the three the county was already using and two other county facilities, including Casa Alitas.

They’ve been serving about 1,200 migrants a day since Thursday and reached a record 1,600 migrants on Friday, Evans says.

“If the city had not been able to stand up those hotels on Thursday, we would have had street releases all weekend in Pima County, in Tucson,” Evans says.

On Monday, the numbers slowed enough that the county could catch its breath, Evans said.

They saw similar increases the last few times Title 42 was supposed to end, so the current increase could either be in anticipation of the policy ending or may be more long-term.

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