Democratic Arizona governor to keep migrant busing program

Jan 24, 2023, 8:59 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2023, 11:00 am

PHOENIX (AP) — Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs is defending her decision to continue her Republican predecessor’s program to transport migrants out of border communities.

Hobbs said in an interview with The Arizona Republic published Wednesday that her focus would be on ensuring that the state’s continued payment of migrants’ travel costs is “efficient and humane.”

“We just wanted to make sure that we were addressing this issue and, as I talked about many times in the campaign, in a way that was the best use of taxpayer resources and something that wasn’t a political stunt,” Hobbs told the newspaper Tuesday.

The program began in May under then-Gov. Doug Ducey and has expanded from the use of buses to include the option of chartered air travel aboard a 737 aircraft, according to a state contract signed Jan. 14.

During Ducey’s tenure, more than 3,000 people were bused from the Yuma, Arizona, area to the nation’s capital at an overall cost of more than $7 million.

Republican lawmakers earmarked $15 million for the program last year.

Hobbs said her focus differs from that of Republican governors Greg Abbott, of Texas, and Ron DeSantis, of Florida, who have transported migrants to Democratic-run cities to make a political point.

“We’re interested in focusing on the humanitarian aspects of this and just putting people on a bus as a political stunt and sending them to Martha’s Vineyard or wherever they went is not providing any help or any solution to the actual issue,” the newspaper quoted Hobbs as saying.

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Democratic Arizona governor to keep migrant busing program