ICE to keep migrant families in Phoenix area hotels; some are reportedly staying in Ahwatukee

According to officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement say groups of migrants will be housed at several hotels in Phoenix.

While officials did not say where the migrants are staying, many reports have said the first round of migrants, who arrived on April 9, were brought to a hotel in Ahwatukee. It’s blocked off and there are a lot of security personnel in the area.

FOX 10 has also learned that another hotel will also be housing migrants in the coming weeks.

According to ICE officials, the agency has signed a short-term contract with Endeavors, a nonprofit organization in Texas, to provide temporary shelter and processing services for families who have not been expelled. The $86.9 million contract will provide 1,239 beds and other services, which includes COVID-19 testing and legal help.

Officials with the Phoenix mayor's office say they were informed about migrants staying in local hotels about a week ago. The office was told only intact families would be housed and not unaccompanied minors, and it is the office's understanding that the families will be housed for 72 hours, and will then go to the International Rescue Committee. No family will be left to fend alone.

"it’s not because they don’t want. They can’t," said Pastor Magdalena Schwartz with the Vineyard Community Church.

Pastor Schwartz says she was contacted by ICE a few months ago. In 2018 and 2019, her church and many others helped thousands of migrants. She said unfortunately this time around, many local churches can't help. She believes more migrants will have to be housed in hotels in the near future.

"They can’t because of COVID, because of the pandemic, because of restrictions. Also because they had a lot of financial problems. They were losing people and they don’t have a lot of members in the churches anymore. This situation right now is because the churches cannot help," said Paster Schwartz.

FOX 10 has reached out to several lawmakers as well as the International Rescue Committee to see what comes next. They have yet to respond.

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