Residents protest Scottsdale hotel used as migrant detention center

People living in a Scottsdale neighborhood are expressing concern over migrants being housed in a local hotel.

Neighbors say they were blindsided when the former Homewood Suites Hotel on Scottsdale Road and Mountain View became a detention center for migrant families.

"My wife and I drove by last night and sure enough, they have armed guards and we have pictures taken by other homeowners unloading buses with people with backpacks into the facility," said resident Geff Gunsalus. "So we're concerned that none of us have been put on notice. There was no due process."

In a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officials say that Texas and Arizona will provide temporary emergency shelter and process families placed in their custody through a short-term contract with Endeavors, a nonprofit organization. 

Through the contract ending on Sept. 30, 1,229 beds will be used to house families.

"They say it's just families, but there's no one there to address it at all with the property closed off," said Gunsalus. "So we're concerned."

The city of Scottsdale posted a notice on their website, saying they were formally notified by ICE on May 28 that the families would go in on Saturday.

Officials went on to say that ICE authorities told the city that the site would be used for families seeking political asylum, and that they have no authority to prevent the hotel from being rented for the families.

FOX 10 attempted to enter the hotel to ask questions and were met with a sign on the front entrance, stating that "as of May 24th, we will be closed to the general public. Not accepting reservations at this time."

"It's not just the community, I just don't think it's fair that they got to jump the line there are people who have been waiting years to get their paperwork," said resident Stephanie Beard. "I don't think it's fair that they get to jump the line. That's my bigger issue."

The nonprofit did not yet say how long migrants would be housed at the hotel.

Protest against migrant detention center

Neighbors of a hotel near Scottsdale and Mountain View roads gathered on June 2 to protest the detention facility for migrants. Many of the people at the protest expressed concern about not being told that the hotel, formally known as the Homewood Suites Hotel, was turned into a detention center for migrant families to be housed for 72 hours.

Families who are seeking asylum moved into the hotel-turned-detention center on Saturday, May 29, a day after the city of Scottsdale was notified by ICE.

The city of Scottsdale said they have no authority to prevent the hotel from being rented for these families.

In a letter from Attorney General Mark Brnovich to the lender and borrower of the property, he cited grave concerns about the 1,200 person detention center. His concerns were as follows:

  1. Who is in the facility and would they leave?
  2. It doesn't guarantee that some migrants might go into the community.
  3. The center isn't a good location due to the surrounding community.

He also says that migrants should be treated humanely and a detention center at the hotel property should not be established.

Brnovich also released a statement saying, "The President is using Arizona as an experiment with his reckless border policies. I will continue to stand up for Arizonans and do everything I can to stop the Biden Administration's attempt to abolish ICE. All of us will pay the price, not only with our tax dollars, but also with our national security, and the safety of our families."

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