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Asylum seekers arrive: Inside Casa Alita's migrant shelter

Asylum seekers arrive at Casa Alitas
Posted at 11:57 AM, Mar 06, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Asylum seekers are arriving in Tucson. On Friday, Tucson Councilman Steve Kozacik said about 200 arrived.

KGUN 9 reached out to Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls who said there isn’t a shelter in Yuma which has led to the transfer of asylum seekers across the region to shelters in places like Tucson.

Over the past few days, Casa Alitas has seen more traffic. Although the shelter did not confirm asylum seekers are arriving specifically from Yuma, it said they are helping partners across the region.

Inside the Tucson shelter, you'll find asylum seekers getting what they need as they continue their journey.

“The first thing they do before medical people even approach them is they are given a rapid test for COVID,” said Sister Darlene Pienschke.

The tests are provided by the county, according to Kozachik. If a positive result comes back, the asylum seeker is isolated. However, if it's negative, Sister Darlene has her health screening checklist ready.

“I keep this whole history and it's a history on all of their illnesses---their medical care since they’ve left. If they’ve been on medications [and] if they have allergies,” she explained.

Then, the asylum seekers are given hygiene kits equipped with masks, the clothing they need and even are prepared meals by volunteers.

While Tucson is just a stop on asylum seekers' journeys, Sister Darlene said no matter how they come in they are grateful.

“They’re very respectful. They're very kind. The people that come are so grateful to be here," she said.

KGUN 9 also asked about vaccinations but a spokesperson says they do not have the resources to vaccinate.