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Phoenix Church, Volunteers Scramble To Help Asylum Seekers During Busy Weekend

For months, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been dropping off busloads of Central American migrants who’ve been granted temporary asylum in the U.S. at churches. But this weekend, there were more asylum seekers than volunteers had been told to expect.

Jen is the executive director of a group called All Hands AZ, which is a collective of volunteers and organizers who help the asylum seekers with things like clothing, medical care, food and transportation.

She didn’t want to use her last name because the group and migrants have been targeted by protesters. Sitting inside an office just off the church’s sanctuary, The Show asked her if she knows why volunteers are suddenly getting more people than they expected.

Also in that office was the church’s pastor, Brian. Like Jen, he requested we only use his first name and not name his church.

He told The Show his church started taking in asylum seekers on New Year's Day, and while they're looking to get into a regular routine, so far they've only been responding on an emergency basis. The Show asked him why he decided to do this.

The Show also reached out to both ICE and Greyhound for comment. in an email an ICE spokesperson said, “Over the weekend we dropped off approximately 200 family units at the bus stop because the organizations we've been working with could not accommodate.”

Greyhound has yet to respond.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.