Sinema Tours International Rescue Committee, Discusses Work Reducing Number of Migrants Left at Phoenix Sky Harbor

Oct 25, 2022

Sinema facilitated coordination and cooperation between stakeholders to reduce drop offs at Sky Harbor
Since 2021, Sinema has secured $260 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program

PHOENIX – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke with regional stakeholders at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Phoenix about the successful collaboration that helped reduce the number of migrants dropped off at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport each day. 
Earlier this year, Sinema held a border roundtable with federal agencies and non-governmental organizations – including the IRC – to discuss the challenges they were facing due to the ongoing crisis at the border. During that meeting, the Senator learned that as many as 400 migrants were being dropped off at Phoenix Sky Harbor on a daily basis, many of whom did not have travel plans, causing a strain on airport operations and workforce.
“Thanks to our collaboration, we’ve seen a reduction of migrant drop offs at Phoenix Sky Harbor. I’m grateful to the IRC, Phoenix Sky Harbor, and the Regional Center for Border Health for their extraordinary work, and I’ll keep pressing the Administration to do more to secure our border and ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely,” said Sinema. 
As a result of Sinema’s border roundtable in March, coordination has improved between local Border Patrol and ICE officials, non-governmental organizations, and Sky Harbor. Currently, thanks to the enhanced cooperation, approximately 175-200 migrants arrive at Sky Harbor each day – a more manageable number for the airport to handle. The Regional Center for Border Health and the IRC are now working together to ensure the migrants who arrive at the airport are better prepared to travel, and all unprepared migrants are provided shelter or alternative transportation. 
Sinema highlighted how the collaboration she cultivated between stakeholders can serve as a model for addressing border challenges, and pledged to continue pressing the Administration to do more to respond to the crisis.
Following the discussion, Sinema toured the reception site to see firsthand the wraparound services for migrants and the need for continued funding for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). 
Since 2021, Sinema has secured $260 million for EFSP through the American Rescue Plan and the fiscal year 2022 government funding law. Earlier this year, Sinema and a bipartisan group of Senators called for continued funding for EFSP. When Sinema became Chair of the Senate Border Management Subcommittee, her first hearing focused on the contributions and challenges experienced by non-governmental organizations operating at the border.