A new team of nurse volunteers with the Registered Nurse Response Network arrived in Tucson to provide medical aid at the Casa Alitas shelter operated by Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. To date, National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union of registered nurses, has sent 12 deployments of nurses to Tucson from around the U.S. to care for illegal aliens crossing the border en mass on a daily basis.
According to a memo from Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, the cost of care is considerable and expected to grow:
Other less discussed costs, but real expenses incurred by counties, relate to public health. Our public health agency has been an active participant in providing vaccinations and health screenings to recent migrant families arriving in Pima County. We have allocated additional staff time, including nursing staff, leadership, operators, support staff, Director, Deputy Director and our Chief Medical Officer. We have provided over 1,000 doses of vaccines procured through our normal processes at a cost of at least $15,850 since January 2019, for just the first quarter of this calendar year. Direct public health employees, supplies and vaccines will likely total $45,000 per quarter. These public health expenditures are directly related to arriving migrant families, and their release and transfer to non-governmental organizations for temporary settlement. The pace of these releases has significantly increased over the last quarter and very often exceeds over 100 individuals per day within Pima County. The costs now being incurred by our public health agency have not been budgeted. The costs detract from our ability to provide our regular public health services in Pima County. Given the significant increase in migrants who are surrendering to Border Protection agencies, just 393 yesterday at Lukeville, Arizona, our primary concern to over resource availability for the nongovernmental organizations that assist the federal government in asylum requests and safely as well as humanely processing migrants.
In an interview on KFYI’s James T. Harris show, Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said the social service safety net is “near collapse” due to the number of arrivals. His office is providing food for those who have sought asylum.
“I have provided bag lunches to try to feed these people,” said Napier. “Because once they’re dumped in the community we can’t just look the other way, because technically they’re in that little space between being an asylum seeker and coming back for a hearing or whatever the case may be. They’re not illegal while they’re in this little window – they have this time between seeking asylum and an asylum hearing. So we do have an affirmative responsibility to care for them. So we have requested some funding to take care of those cost so it is not born on the backs of the taxpayers of Pima County.”
Listen To Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier discuss the work his office is doing for the migrants: