PHOENIX (AP) – Greyhound Lines Inc. no longer allows the US authorities to dismiss immigrant families in bus stations and force those who have been released from custody to wait outside until they have a ticket.
OS Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed on Friday at The Associated Press that it had been asked to dismiss migrants outside facilities instead of shrugging them in.
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For years, ICE has lost migrants at Greyhound stations, largely in Phoenix, having released them pending legal proceedings to Decide if they can stay in the country. From the stations, they travel to their destination in the United States.
Greyhound Spokeswoman Crystal Booker said the Dallas-based company is experiencing an "unprecedented increase in individuals" at some bus terminals and that travelers need tickets to enter. She said the policy applies to anyone missing a ticket.
"Our priority is to secure their customers in a safe and efficient way," Booker said in a statement.
Immigrants released by ICE do not normally have prior notice and cannot make travel arrangements until they arrive at the station. Most of them do not have money and have to wait for a family or a lawyer to buy their ticket.
A large number of families in Central America have traveled to the United States in the last few months, many saying they are fleeing violence and are planning to seek asylum. Others say they escape extreme poverty.
In Arizona alone between December 21
Outside the Phoenix station in 15 adults and five children waited in a shady area near a parking lot Thursday. Some said they had been there for about seven hours.
The federal agency relies on voluntary organizations, many of them faith-based groups, to help families with travel and meals.
Connie Phillips, president and chief executive of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, said she did not blame Greyhound for her policies, but rather immigration officials for not having a long-term and sustainable way of dealing with immigrant publishing.
"Just dropping people away from a place that is not meant to be able to welcome and help them is not a solution, and we must work together to create a viable answer to this increased need and stop this chaos, "says Phillips.
Immigration authorities say they only release families at bus stations when volunteer groups run out of space.
"ICE wants to limit the burden on community resources as we continue to see large numbers of families crossing the border," said Keefe, spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O & # 39;
Phill ips said dozens of volunteers have created a network to respond to the Phoenix bus station when immigrants have fallen away. They bring food and water, allow migrants to use volunteer cell phones and help coordinate travel.
Phillips said that the groups that help temporarily remember about 700 people in churches and congregant homes in the Phoenix area, but it does not.
The practice of releasing immigrants at Greyhound stations is not limited to Phoenix, but this is where it happens most often.
ICE takes families directly from a customs and border protection station to a shelter protected by non-governmental organizations. Authorities have only rejected migrants in the bus station only in some cases.
In McAllen, Texas, immigrants are off in a Catholic charity home.
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