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Congressman who was denied entry to Tucson migrant hotel speaks about viral video

Casa Alitas and Pima County claimed the video has caused issues for them and their operations
Migrant Hotel
Posted at 5:43 PM, Feb 14, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A Wisconsin congressman who got the sheriff called on him while trying to go inside a Tucson migrant hotel for an unscheduled visit is responding to reaction from the county and Casa Alitas.

A Pima County spokesperson and the director of Casa Alitas said a video posted of the incident by Congressman Tiffany, which got over 2 million views, have caused problems for them.

"I understand the concerns of Casa Alitas," Representative Tom Tiffany, a Republican in Wisconsin's 7th District said. "But they're participating in a process that is pulling people to America."

Tiffany told me he believes more migrants are coming to the U.S. because they believe they will get help from NGOs like Casa Alitas.

Casa Alitas said he was refused a tour because he showed up unannounced.

Tiffany said showing up like that was on purpose.

“It is most valuable when we get to see these things with an unvarnished look. We’ve seen too many times on the border, when we announce we’re going to be there, things get cleaned," Tiffany said.

The hotel where the migrants are staying for a night or two before going on to other cities is being funded with federal tax dollars.

A Pima County spokesperson, Mark Evans, said over $65 million in migrant assistance has been spent since 2019, mostly through FEMA.

KGUN 9 has reported on migrants staying in local hotels since 2019.

“The American taxpayer should not have to pay for that," Tiffany said.

Migrant

Evans says while it is a lot of money, the situation locally will be dire without it.

“We’re going to get people on the street, which we've been trying to avoid for five years," Evans said.

Casa Alitas’s director Diego Lopez agreed, saying he thinks costs to the county and city would go up if their federal safety net disappears.

“With law enforcement, medical bills, and so forth, we’re providing a service that decreases the cost, not increases it,” Lopez said.

But Representative Tiffany tells me he’s not going to support further funding for migrant support in American cities.

Tiffany argues that D.C. lawmakers and President Biden need to stop the record numbers of people coming across the border, and not keep funding the issue.

“They talk about how the funding is running out—well, why is that? It’s because they’re being overrun," Tiffany said.

Casa Alitas said Congressman Tiffany and any federal lawmaker could get a tour of Casa Alitas if they go through the proper process to request one.

At the end of the video posted to 'X', Tiffany says he wants to come back and hold a hearing on the hotel.

He now says he has already talked to Congressman Jim Jordan about holding a House Judiciary Committee hearing on this, and taking a look at federal money going to NGOs.

"This is another thing that needs to be highlighted," Tiffany said. "How much money is coming to NGOs, and how they're one of the links in the mass illegal immigration coming to America."

According to U.S. immigration law, migrants can legally seek asylum protection in the U.S. even if they illegally cross the border.

Click here to see an extended clip of my interview with Congressman Tiffany.

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Adam Klepp is a reporter for KGUN 9. At his previous station in Yuma, Adam focused on a range of local issues including the border, water rights and healthcare. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and attended both Loyola University Chicago and Syracuse University. Share your story ideas and important issues with Adam by emailing adam.klepp@kgun9.com or by connecting on Twitter.