PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona — angry about the federal government sending from Texas to Arizona immigrants who are in the country illegally — said Friday it will rush federal supplies to a holding center in the southern part of the state that is housing migrant children.
Gov. Jan Brewer's spokesman, Andrew Wilder, said conditions at the holding center are so dire that federal officials have asked the state to immediately ship the medical supplies to the center. In addition, Wilder said, the regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was being dispatched to Arizona to help deal with the crisis.
Wilder said reports from consulates that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was stopping the program to fly migrant families to Arizona and then bus them to Phoenix were incorrect. Instead, the program that has shipped unknown thousands of adult migrants and their children to Arizona since last month shows no sign of stopping, he said.
"The adults, the adults with children, families — that continues unfettered and we have no idea where they are going," Wilder said. "The governor's questions remain unanswered, and she is outraged about the lack of information being provided to the state of Arizona about this program."
In a statement Friday, Homeland Security officials said "appropriate custody determinations will be made on a case by case basis" for migrants apprehended in South Texas. The department declined to comment on the reports that the program of flying migrant families to Arizona was being halted.
Homeland Security started flying immigrants to Arizona from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas last month after the number of immigrants, including more than 48,000 children traveling on their own, overwhelmed the Border Patrol there. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has said the immigrants were mostly families from Central America fleeing extreme poverty and violence. They were flown from Texas, released in Arizona, and told to report to an ICE office near where they were traveling within 15 days.
Brewer sent an angry letter to President Barack Obama on Monday demanding that the program of dropping off families at bus stations in Phoenix stop immediately. She called the program dangerous and unconscionable, asked for details and demanded to know why state authorities weren't consulted or even informed.
The governor said she hadn't received a response to her letter by Friday.
"I have reached out to Federal Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson for answers. Meanwhile, I reiterate my call on President Obama to secure our southern border and terminate this operation immediately," Brewer said in a statement.
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