Tuesday, July 15, 2014

AZMEX I3-2 13-7-14

AZMEX I3-2 13 JUL 2014

Local flights carrying migrant families end
Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014 6:57 pm | Updated: 9:51 pm, Fri Jul 11, 2014.
By James Gilbert, Yuma Sun staff writer


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has announced that the agency will no longer be flying Central American children and families arrested in Texas to Yuma and San Diego.
According to Brett Worsencraft, president of the Local 2595 Border Patrol Union, which represents agents in Yuma, Wellton and Blythe, the flight carrying migrant families that landed at Yuma International Airport on Friday was the last one. "There will be no more flights. The last one came in today." Worsencraft said. "They aren't staying here. The airport is just being used as a transfer point."

The El Centro Sector Border Patrol, which transported the migrant families to the agency's station in El Centro for processing on a previous flight, declined to comment on Friday's most recent flight.
"Due to security considerations, we are not providing any further information regarding the schedule or location of migrant transfers at this time," said Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Miguel A. Garcia, of the El Centro Sector Public Affairs Office. "Our foremost priority is the safety of the DHS personnel who are conducting these transfers and the welfare of those who have been entrusted to their custody."

Gen Grosse, spokesperson for the Yuma International Airport, confirmed that the airport provides aviation services to Customs and Border Protection when contacted, but did not know if that flight was carrying migrant families. "We don't have their schedule," Grosse said. "We are unaware of any future arrivals or departures."

The flights have been a rallying cry for anti-illegal immigration activists because families are typically released as they await hearings in immigration court.
One flight earlier this month sparked a backlash in which protesters outside the Border Patrol station in Murrieta, Calif., blocked a road and forced the rerouting of busloads of immigrants.

The Border Patrol has denied that the protests outside its Murrieta station influenced its decision to end the flights, instead claiming it has reduced its backlog of families being held in Texas' Rio Grande Valley and has improved processing there.

The government has chartered three flights to San Diego since July 1, with each carrying about 140 Central American adults and their young children. They had been scheduled to arrive every three days.
Another flight landed in Yuma on July 2. According to the Yuma Sector Public Affairs Office, the reason the plane landed in Yuma was because the runway at the airport in El Centro, where they were originally going to be taken, is not long enough to accommodate such a flight.

Worsencraft explained that Yuma Sector agents were not involved in either of the flights.

Flights to San Diego may resume, but there are currently no plans to do so.
The Border Patrol also flew a large number of families from Texas to Tucson in late May, drawing criticism from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer when U.S. immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) dropped them off at bus stations.

Before the latest surge of Central Americans to this country, there was only one family detention center in the country, designed for 85 people in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Since then, CBP has opened three more facilities, one in Oklahoma, one in McAllen, Texas, and one in Artesia, New Mexico, which is designed to hold as many as 700 people.


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