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City officials agree to finding more locations to shelter migrants seeking asylum

Posted at 9:51 PM, Apr 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 17:01:24-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Benedictine Monastery has opened its doors to thousands of Central American migrants seeking asylum since the start of the year. But now, the shelter has run out of space.

"We're told by Border Patrol and ICE last week, to expect up to 200 people per day," Steve Kozachik said. "You do the numbers -- if we get about 100 out and 200 in, that means we're gaining about 100 everyday, here in the city."

The monastery is in Councilmember Steve Kozachik's ward.

He says by the end of July, the monastery will shut its doors to migrants for planned construction this fall. So the City is now trying to find other shelter locations as soon as possible.

"We're not waiting until the construction happens," Kozachik said. "We're not waiting until an emergency occurs. We're being proactive on this."

During the council meeting Tuesday night, city officials and Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus agreed to come up with a long-term solution to the issue. They discussed a need for more coordination and communication between federal agencies, city leaders and the community.

"I think the more that we work together to address some of these challenges, the better off, frankly, all of us are going to be," Chief Magnus said. "So we're very pleased to be part of that and we look forward to more coordination, information, direction -- whatever we can get -- that helps us be more effective."

The City expects to release more information about the specific needs sometime this week.

Chief Magnus says he's meeting with Bordr Patrol and ICE officials on Friday, April 26.

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