PHOENIX– The Arizona Latino Caucus and Rep. Kelli Butler released the following statement on the detention of migrant children in Arizona hotels:

“In recent days, it has come to light that a private contractor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been taking unaccompanied and separated children to three Hampton Inn & Suites hotels in Arizona and at the Texas-Mexico border, where they are typically detained for several days. This is more cruelty from an administration that has shown it’s willing to sacrifice children to further a heartless political agenda. ICE may think that no one will care about these children or advocate for their well being because they are undocumented. They are wrong.

We shouldn't be detaining children at all, let alone traumatizing them by hiding them in hotels or black-site facilities like office buildings with no accountability. As of 2018, Senate investigators said the department could not determine the whereabouts of 1,488 out of 11,254 children the agency had placed with sponsors. This is a shadow system with no apparent regard for safety and wellbeing of the children. Regardless of status, we need to prioritize the health and safety of these children and not further traumatize them. We need answers to where these children are being held now and if they are safe. Are they receiving access to legal representation? Are they being deported with no family contacts to countries where their lives are at risk? Are they being trafficked or abused? These are questions that need answers.

These children should be in licensed facilities that have experience working with this population and have a level of state oversight. Especially in the midst of a pandemic where detention facilities have had rampant outbreaks of COVID-19, how are these children being protected? According to HHS, 86 migrant minors in their custody have already tested positive for COVID-19, two of them in Arizona as of July 16. We’re grateful that Remington Hotels and Hampton Inn Phoenix-Airport North have confirmed they will end business with the contractor, but we still need to know what will happen to these children. At the end of the day these children should be with their parents and families, but at the very least they should be in the protection of licensed shelters that are operated with accountability and oversight.”



September 28th, 2020

PHOENIX– This October 12th will be Indigenous Peoples Day after Governor Ducey has signed a proclamation to recognize the contributions of Indigenous People. To celebrate the proclamation, Senator Jamescita Peshlakai, Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative President Dylan Baca and community members will hold an event at the Heard Museum on September 29th at 9:30am. As an Arizona State Senator and member of the Navajo Nation, Jamescita Peshlakai has partnered with the Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative to launch an effort to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous People’s Day in Arizona to honor Indigenous Peoples in Arizona and the United States.

WHAT: Celebration of Arizona Indigenous People’s Day

WHEN: Tuesday, September 29th at 9:30am

WHERE: The Heard Museum Plaza

WHO: Senator Jamescita Peshlakai, Senator Victoria Steele, Representatives Arlando Teller, Myron Tsosie and Jennifer Jermaine, Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative President Dylan Baca, Representative from the Biden for President Campaign, Navajo County Board Supervisor Dawnafe Whitesinger and others.


September 17th 2020

PHOENIX– Legislative Caucuses and the Arizona Fair and Accurate Census Tally Coalition released the following statement on the need to return the Census deadline back to its original end date of October 31st.

“It is difficult to overstate the critical importance of the 2020 Census for Arizona. It is a chance to ensure that Arizona gets the resources and funding our state needs to keep it an incredible place to live. The census truly has a direct impact on our daily lives - from the roads we drive on, the schools our children attend, our access to health care, to even our political representation. For decades the Census has been a nonpartisan event that everyone supports. But unfortunately we’ve seen the census has come under partisan political attacks to prevent every American from being rightfully counted. The Census was originally scheduled to end on October 31st, but is currently set to end on September 30th. Ending the Census a month early will only hurt Arizona’s chances of having a complete count. The threats of an undercount are particularly serious in Arizona and our tribal lands. As of today's date, Arizona ranks forty-ninth in total response rates. Only Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi rank lower than Arizona. Without an extension, the U.S. Census Bureau will not have the necessary time to count all Arizonans in what is always a challenging task that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why we're on calling on Governor Doug Ducey to request an extension for the Census so that we can achieve a complete count for Arizona.”

“The importance of an accurate count of all members of the Latino and other underserved communities cannot be overstated. Everything from Head Start to housing, healthcare to CTE (career and technical education), low-income energy assistance to community development utilize federal funds based on accurate data from the Census. Any undercount would prove costly for Arizona, not just in dollars and programs but for individual lives and underserved communities, as well as our state’s collective potential,” said David Adame, President and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa.

Dr. Lupita Ley Hightower, Superintendent, Tolleson Elementary School District says, “As a school educator, I know the importance of every source of funding in our schools. One of the ways the federal government allocates funding to schools and other important areas in our state is by using Census information. It is imperative to be counted appropriately and accurately in order to receive these critical resources for the next 10 years. Each of us counts, please join me in filling out the census survey.”

The ALMA (Arizona Latin-American Medical Association) Council also added,“The ALMA (Arizona Latin-American Medical Association) Councilurgently requests Governor Ducey take a leadership role making every effort to extend the 2020 US Census count to benefit the health and welfare of all Arizona residents. To remain silent and passive at this critical juncture conveys an indifference to the health and welfare of our Arizona community.”

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