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Southern Arizona will muddle through migration increase after Title 42

Some Arizona politicians are busy saying the Biden administration isn’t quite ready to lift Title 42 border restrictions.

Senator Kirsten Cinema, the newly minted independent, keep saying itRepublican Party Congressman Juan Ciscomani said so.Even Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs has refrained from making this statement.

“With Title 42 set to expire in just two days, the federal government doesn’t seem ready,” Hobbes said Tuesday afternoon in Tucson. “As a result, communities in Arizona will face tremendous challenges trying to cope with the influx of people entering the country.”

They may be right, they may be wrong. The lure of hype is so strong that it’s often hard to tell when politicians talk about the US-Mexico border. Either way, we’ll find out soon as Title 42, the pandemic policy that allows Border Patrol agents to quickly bring many immigrants back to Mexico, expires at the end of Thursday.

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What confuses me is my years of experience with immigration surges, my experience dealing with them in general.

But there’s also this: Border Patrol’s Tucson sector chief, John Modlin, sounded much more confident than these politicians did at the time he spoke at a news conference on Monday:

“In the last 18 months to 2 years, maybe 6 or 7 times, I thought Title 42 was gone. A relationship that wasn’t always there.”

He said the patrol “is in daily contact with counties, municipalities and non-governmental organizations.”

“I think we are very well prepared for it.”

So if the border guard captain is so confident, why are politicians so frightened to speak up? Maybe they know something he doesn’t. In some cases, they may be politically defending themselves against condemnation.

If so, each could say “I told you so” and it wasn’t their fault.

After things go well and Title 42 is revoked, no one will remember them screaming wolves unless there is a major disruption to everyday life in Arizona.

Realities on the ground are rarely an issue when talking about immigration and the US-Mexico border. What really matters when politicians are speaking is perception and political stance.

If it benefits them, they’ll say the border is a mess even if it isn’t, or if the problem is confined to a portion of the Rio Grande Valley hundreds of miles from Arizona. And yes, if it benefits them, they’ll say the border is controlled, even if it’s not.

In short, don’t trust what politicians say about borders.

But in places like Tucson and the southern Arizona border, you have the advantage of being able to judge from your own experience.

Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to welcome a group of foreign journalists to America. State Department Edward R. Murrow Exchange ProgramThey always want to talk about immigration and sometimes ask about their recent experiences in Tucson.

They’ve all heard news reports of a surge in illegal immigration along the Mexican border and in Arizona.

My answer, even in the Biden era when more immigrants came in than during the first pandemic of 2020, is: The only time I came across them was when I was working on a story about them.

For me personally, Spring 2019 had a bigger impact. That’s when thousands of immigrants from Honduras, other Central American countries, and southern Mexico passed through Tucson. The church near my house had a small shelter that I volunteered for. Of course, the Abbey on North Country Club Road has become a migrant shelter and logistics miracle site.

Now, with the end of Title 42, expect problems. It is probably most noticeable in towns such as Douglas, Bisbee, Ajo, Gila Bend, and perhaps Yuma County. If border guards start dropping people off at those locations without coordination, it will become a problem.

In fact, that seems to be the main concern of Hobbes and local officials, who spoke at the new Casa Aritas shelter on Tucson’s south side on Tuesday. They don’t want the so-called “street liberation” of stranded immigrants. And we want to make sure there are shelter spaces for those who arrive, at least until we can send them to friends and family elsewhere in the country.

“I’ve seen them[border patrols]not tell them where they’re dropping people off. We’re trying to avoid releasing them on public roads,” Hobbs said. “They may think they have a plan, but they haven’t told us about it.”

However, our experience has shown that between local governments, non-governmental organizations like Casa Aritas, local volunteers, and the federal government, it has endured occasional critical times over the decades. It shows what you can do.

not to mention, The Biden administration has a detailed plan It should have some effect. In fact, many human rights activists consider it harsh.

The new rules, which are likely to come into force before Title 42 expires, will bar those crossing borders between ports of entry from seeking asylum. That alone would be a big change, as all asylum seekers would pass through the point of entry.

Among other things, they also increased the number of hearing officers for credible fear allegations, increased deportation flights, and set up regional processing centers around the hemisphere so that people could visit instead of making dangerous journeys. doing.

That said, much of the rest of what needs to be done is up to Congress. Ciscomani and Sinema, Congressman Raul Grijalva and Senator Mark Kelly — they are responsible for legislative change and funding, and need to address more serious and long-standing issues.

For the current problem, we will find a way to solve it somehow.

Tim Steller is an opinion columnist. A 25-year veteran of reporting and editing, he delves into important issues and stories in the Tucson area, reports on the findings, and communicates his conclusions.please contact him tsteller@tucson.com or 520-807-7789. Twitter: @senyorreporter

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