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Humanitarian group: Don’t compare Ducey’s migrant bus trips to Texas and Florida

A coalition of migrant advocates sent a letter to the DOJ asking for an investigation of Doug Ducey’s policy to send busloads of migrants to other states.

ARIZONA, USA — A coalition of migrant advocates held a news conference Thursday announcing they sent a letter to the Department of Justice, asking for an investigation of Governor Doug Ducey’s policy to send busloads of migrants across the country to other states.

The governor’s office maintains the trips are in the best interest of the migrants who want to go, and a humanitarian organization coordinating the trips is siding with the governor, saying the bus trips should not be compared to those from Texas and Florida.

“We want answers”

Since April, nearly 2,000 migrants at the southern border have agreed to take buses paid for by the state of Arizona to states back east where the migrants have family and support systems waiting for them, said a spokesperson for Governor Doug Ducey.

Most of the 2,000 migrants in the program went to three states: New York, New Jersey and Florida, according to the governor’s office.

On Thursday, a coalition of migrant activists affiliated with Uncage & Reunite Families Coalition questioned whether the migrants are actually reaching their intended destination.

“We want answers,” said David Hernandez of the League of the United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). “In August, I was in New York, and I was hearing stories of people who were supposed to be in Virginia. I was hearing stories of people who were supposed to be in Pennsylvania. We should not be blaming migrants who are under a false pretense of proper travel.”

Hernandez said he wants to know if Arizona is partially to blame for sending migrants to the wrong state.

The activists who held the news conference said they had “conflicting information” and “anecdotal stories” about migrants bussed from Arizona and arriving in the wrong state.

“We need to know if people are being tricked into being somewhere,” Hernandez said.

Governors in Texas and Florida are accused of misleading migrants about where they were being transported. Florida Governor Ron Desantis recently sent Venezuelan migrants to the ultra-wealthy community of Martha’s Vinyard in Massachusetts in what critics called a cheap political stunt.

Migrants get documents from the Border Patrol instructing them where and when they need to show up in court for a hearing.

“Every single family has to go to a court date. How are you setting up people to go to a court date in another state?” said Eddie Chavez Calderon of Arizona Jews For Justice.

“All families… travel to the state they want to go to”

A nonprofit humanitarian organization coordinating the trips with Governor Ducey’s office and Homeland Security tells 12News the claims made in Thursday’s news conference is “misinformation.”

Amanda Aguirre of the Regional Center for Border Health said they “work closely” with all families to ensure they travel to the state they want to go to, and court dates are scheduled for them in those states.

“This is a humanitarian effort. We would not be participating if this were in any way similar to what Texas or Florida governors are doing,” said Aguirre in a public statement. “The passengers of said buses are screened thoroughly, and their sponsors are contacted to make sure they can receive them; all families are vetted to ensure this is the best option for them and are very aware of what the process will be.”

Aguirre said the passengers also sign documents acknowledging where they are going.

Ducey’s office also defends bus trips

A spokesperson for Governor Doug Ducey also pushed back on the notion that the bus trips are confusing migrants.

“We have not heard of a single case of a migrant who boarded a bus in Yuma who subsequently said ‘I was misled about where I was going,” said C.J. Karamargin.

12News reached out to Calderon and Hernandez after the news conference to seek more specific information about the allegations but did not receive an answer when this story was published.

Karamargin said if there was a case of a migrant being transported to an unintended destination, “we definitely would want to know about it.”

Aguirre said transporting migrants across the country alleviates a heavy burden on humanitarian groups in southern Arizona.

“This is 100% voluntary to safely get the families and children that much closer to home, Yuma does not have the infrastructure to handle street releases, and we are here to assist these families in a humanitarian way.”


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