Asylum seekers left in small border town
In the tiny town of Ajo in the middle of the Arizona desert, Border Patrol comes by every day and drops off dozens of asylum seekers after they’ve been processed. They’re left to find their way.
Aaron Cooper, of the International Sonoran Desert Alliance, said the town doesn’t have the resources needed, so the county has to drive migrants two-and-a-half hours to the nearest shelter in Tucson.
“So when we went from one drop a day to oftentimes two drops a day, very quickly we had volunteer burnout and it turned from a I’m willing to come and pitch in for a few hours to this is a full-time job,” Cooper said.
The volunteers also give the migrants food and a COVID-19 test. In the last week and a half, nearly 300 asylum seekers have arrived in the town of about 4,000.
“This is not the first time we’ve had to come together as a community to solve a unique problem that hit suddenly,” Cooper said.
Data obtained by CBS News shows that, on average, Border Patrol is apprehending 5,000 people a day. About 50% more migrants were apprehended in March compared to February.
CBS News met a mother of two from Venezuela at Tucson’s Casa Alitas shelter. She said she was separated from her adult son 11 days ago and doesn’t want her face shown in case it jeopardizes his release. She said her family has never been separated before.
“We got into this country of freedoms and now we’re being separated,” she said.