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Cochise Supervisors Discuss impact of Title 42 removal

It’s been two weeks since the federal government ended Title 42, a federal pandemic policy that allows immigrants to be immediately deported at the border, but Cochise County officials said the impact hasn’t been too great.

Meanwhile, street releases surged in Cochise County before federal policy expired. Road release means migrants held by Border Patrol have been released directly into the Arizona Department of Emergency Military Transportation program.

In a work session Thursday, Cochise County Crisis Management Director Daniel Dushon said the overall impact of the Title 42 removal was less than expected.

“You can see that it peaked just before May 11. A lot of the predictions until the Title 42 exclusion was canceled were kind of rushed,” Douchon said. “Then it happened. And over the next week or so, the price dropped steadily.”

The peak of Cochise County releases was 320 on May 11, the final day of Title 42. Dushon said the numbers are not out of the norm.

“For those of us who have lived in Cochise County for a long time, we know that 200 to 300 people crossing the border a day is nothing new,” Douchon said.

Dushon said there were no unprotected releases in Cochise County, meaning no migrants were released from Border Patrol custody without prearranged transportation or shelter.

He appreciates the preparations made by Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz and AZ DEMA to provide transportation and shelter capacity.

“Pima County has strengthened significantly, working with the Casa Aritas Welcome Center to open a second center,” Dushon said. “The city of Tucson had some overflow hotels, and Cochise County had some shelter capacity.

Co-Pastor Peggy Christiansen said Douglas First Presbyterian Church was asked by the Border Patrol and the city of Douglas to protect asylum seekers. She said they were no longer needed as shelters since Title 42 expired. Therefore, no one was housed in the church.

The church was one of two in Douglas that caught fire on May 22nd. No injuries have been reported.

Cochise County Supervisors Peggy Judd and Ann English expressed gratitude and relief, but Supervisor Tom Crosby was not satisfied.

“Of course, this is a catastrophe. Naturally, our country is in the worst possible situation,” Crosby said. “I don’t understand why you can’t see it.”

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