Cochise County Sheriff Reports Uncoordinated Migrant Street Releases

Pima/DEMA Buses Still Running

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The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office received the following information from Emergency Management on September 18, 2023, in reference to migrant street releases into the county’s communities:

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Emergency Management – Street Release Update 9/18/2023

Street releases occurred 5/8 to 5/19, and then began again on 6/22.  These street releases were all seamlessly transferred to Pima/DEMA buses.

On 9/13, Street releases began to occur during daylight hours, every 2-4 hours, for about 10-20 individuals, in Douglas and Bisbee, and are no longer directly to the Pima/DEMA buses.  We consider these Uncoordinated street releases.  Unsheltered releases occur when migrants must shelter in the community overnight.

The Pima/DEMA buses are still running, up to 6 buses per day (Bisbee and Douglas) Bisbee Safeway buses have stopped, and a respite center in Bisbee has been established. Douglas has a respite center / overnight shelter Overnight stays are occurring in Bisbee and Douglas.  EM, municipal and NGO partners are working to limit overnight stays. Chart below shows the total transports from Cochise County to Tucson, since 5/8.  Numbers run high, as this shows transports (not migrants), and not every bus is full.

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office is concerned about the impact that these uncoordinated street releases are having on the communities of Douglas and Bisbee. The county is working with Emergency Management and other partners to provide respite centers and other assistance to the migrants, but more resources are needed.

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The sheriff’s office is asking the public to be patient and understanding during this time. They are also asking residents to report any suspicious activity to the sheriff’s office immediately.

Source: Cochise County Sheriff’s Office

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