TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Haitian immigrants are already passing through the Tucson area, on their way to sponsor families while their immigration cases are decided. Afghan refugees will probably become long term residents here.
Haitians are coming to Tucson from improvised camps in Texas. Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik says they will not be staying here. He says the Haitians coming here have places to stay in other cities.
The Casa Alitas shelter will use systems it developed to move Central American immigrants to sponsor homes to help the Haitians get to their destinations.
Kozachik says, “We've got the network in place right now and we're in direct contact with DHS and Border Patrol, and the drill has been the very same that we've been going through with respect to Central Americans.”
COVID restrictions have cut Casa Alitas capacity to a fraction of normal so Kozachik says the city and county are putting Haitians in motel space as they pass through.
Afghan refugees are not expected to simply pass through Tucson. Lutheran Social Services and the International Rescue Committee are working with them for more permanent arrangements to live here long term.
There’s government assistance to help them with the cost of settling into new lives here.
Kozachik says, “There are some federal dollars and some federal programs that are available on one time dollars that we're aware of and that we're tapping into. In addition to that, the Department of Economic Security the state through DES. They've tapped into some funds as well.”
But housing could still be a challenge with rentals tight and rent prices going up.