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Cochise County leaders present united front against migrant street releases

Local leaders and law enforcement concerned for public safety, safety of migrants
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Posted at 1:45 PM, Sep 14, 2023

COCHISE COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN) — Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels and a coalition of local law enforcement and public officials held press conference Thursday afternoon to address Border Patrol street releases.

Dannels said his department and the other city leaders were notified of the Customs Border and Protection street releases after they made their first drop off on Monday morning.

Douglas Mayor Donald Huish said more than 100 processed asylum seekers have been dropped of in his city. A local church is serving as a temporary shelter, with food and water for those who want a place to stay until buses from Pima County come to pick them up.

"If the buses don’t come, we’re not sure what we’re going to do with them because we’re not set up at all to handle families, both sexes; we’re not set up for that so it's just temporary until the bus can show up," Huish said.

Bisbee Mayor Ken Budge said 57 people were dropped off in his town.

“I’ve got texts in my pocket about, oh, 'DPS is only releasing these at transportation hubs," Budge said. "Well I'm sorry—my Safeway is not a transportation hub. It's a bus stop for my local bus. So there is some real disconnect going on between the federal government and us.”

Full press conference livestream avaialble in the video player above

Dannels says that the Border Patrol's release of migrants onto the streets of largely-rural Cochise County are "another reflection of the fracture within the DHS infrastructure regarding the security of our southern border."

According to Dannels, a major concern is a lack of resources given to migrants themselves, as well as Cochise County's limited resources to provide assistance once migrants are released.

RELATED: CCSO deputies prepare for migrant street releases

Dannels released the following statement prior to the press conference:

CBP leadership outside the boundaries of Cochise County have notified the CCSO and Emergency Services that street releases will begin today (Wednesday September 13, 2023.)

Today’s announcement that CBP will begin migrant street releases into Cochise County is just another reflection of the fracture within the DHS infrastructure regarding the security of our southern border. These releases are a direct result of over-capacity by CBP which is forcing these migrant releases into our communities.

Sheriff Dannels has expressed his frustration regarding this decision stating, “The migrants being released are from outside Cochise County but were bussed to Cochise County, processed, and then released. Cochise County is a rural county with limited resources leaving these migrants vulnerable. In short, this lack of humanitarian consideration poses risk for the migrants. “ Sheriff DANNELS continued, “ I applaud the local CBP agents and their leadership for doing all they legally can during this on-going crisis, and I repeat my statement, “The intellectual avoidance and abandonment with intended consequences” by those leaders in Washington DC reference our southern border continues to be a slippery slope for those doing everything we can to protect our quality of life here in Cochise County!”