Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs (D) announced plans to continue transporting immigrants from Arizona, which is a controversial practice that was implemented in 2022 under the former governor Doug Ducey (R). Hobbs announced that her plans for transporting migrants out of the state differ from Ducey's plan as she will concentrate on bringing migrants to US cities where they will be destined to end up, which is often in the states where their sponsors are.
Another distinction in the plan is that Hobbs extended the busing arrangement on January 13. Governor Hobbs retained the same provider to offer services, Hobbs also intended to transport migrants from the state.
Ducey took immigrants to “sanctuary cities,” often Washington D.C. or New York City. Ducey was the target of criticism from the White House for politicization. Ducey earlier stated that all of the people who were taken to the sanctuary cities went voluntarily.
At an event, Hobbs said that the program is beneficial to the overwhelmed border communities. She also said that the new destination would be beneficial to migrants, stating:
“It's something that provides support to those local communities. If we're spending money to bus people, why not just get them to their final destination?”
The Arizona budget allocated around $15 million per year to transport migrants. The current program runs about 1 million per month. In the Ducey administration, one bus trip was about $82,000. Likewise, the construction of shipping containers near the border and removal in accordance with the orders of the federal government cost around $200 million.
In a post-press conference statement, Hobbs’ Press Secretary Josselyn Berry claimed that the administration is trying to find more efficient methods of transportation, stating:
“We're sending migrants to cities they actually need to go to and be connected with their sponsors, and we are doing it in a more cost effective way by looking at all travel options, not just buses.”