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Volunteers: Central America violence leads to influx of migrants in Phoenix

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Another busload of suspected undocumented immigrants was dropped off in Phoenix on Wednesday. Humanitarian workers say it's a crisis that continues to worsen each day. (Source: CBS 5 News) Another busload of suspected undocumented immigrants was dropped off in Phoenix on Wednesday. Humanitarian workers say it's a crisis that continues to worsen each day. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Families, including children mostly under 5, now are in a strange country that is insanely hot. (Source: CBS 5 News) Families, including children mostly under 5, now are in a strange country that is insanely hot. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Cyndi Whitmore, a volunteer with the Phoenix Restoration Project, says the influx of immigrant drop-offs in Phoenix this week has been happening for awhile. (Source: CBS 5 News) Cyndi Whitmore, a volunteer with the Phoenix Restoration Project, says the influx of immigrant drop-offs in Phoenix this week has been happening for awhile. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Another day has passed in the Valley and yet another busload of suspected undocumented immigrants was dropped off in Phoenix. Humanitarian workers say it's a crisis that continues to worsen each day.

When the Department of Homeland Security bus arrived at the intersection of Buckeye Road and 24th Street it didn't pull into the Greyhound bus station lot.

Instead, the immigrants were dropped off at a corner near the Phoenix bus station. Families, including children mostly under 5, now are in a strange country that is insanely hot.

"I've seen several letters from politicians saying why didn't you notify us that this was happening. Well, that's a little embarrassing on their part," said Cyndi Whitmore.

Whitmore, a volunteer with the Phoenix Restoration Project, said the influx of drop-offs in Phoenix this week has been happening for awhile.

"For at least two years," Whitmore added. "It's been going on even longer than that in Tucson. This is not new."

But, she said what is new is who's showing up.

"Women and children are fleeing because the violence has gotten so severe," Whitmore said.

She said the violence against women and children has gotten particularly worse in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Numbers CBS 5 News obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection demonstrates the extent of the challenge. The amount of "unaccompanied children" younger than 17 crossing the border nearly doubled since last year. That was a 92 percent increase. The amount of children younger than 17 illegally crossing at the Rio Grande nearly tripled, or a 168 percent increase.

That's where the families who arrived in Phoenix Wednesday crossed, too.

Volunteers with the Phoenix Restoration Project are welcoming donations for the migrants. But they ask that you not take them to the Greyhound bus station. Instead, they ask that you take them to one of the following locations:

  • IUPAT (International Union of Painters and Allied Trades), 1841 N 24th St. (daytime)
  • Asbury United Methodist Church, 1601 W. Indian School Rd. (this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday only, 5-7 p.m.)
  • Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, 1421 S. 12 St. (open for donations all day and evening)
  • Iglesia Vida, 3002 N. Arizona Ave., Suite 5 (open 9-5 p.m. all days, contact Abel or Cecilia Gurrola, 480-620-6304)

Ongoing donations needed:

  • Pedia-lyte
  • Bottled water in individual serving sizes only
  • Formula and powdered milk (in single size servings if available)
  • Diapers in larger sizes 4, 5, 6
  • Baby wipes
  • Sanitary napkins (no tampons)
  • Cup noodles
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix and beef jerky (in single servings if available)

Priority 2

  • Shoelaces in adult and children sizes
  • Child and adult toothbrushes
  • Travel size toothpaste
  • Travel size deodorant
  • Combs and ponytail holders
  • Ziploc style bags in sandwich quart and gallon sizes
  • Small/ nap size children's throws
  • Backpacks and tote bags with handles
  • Coloring books and crayons

Items that cannot be accepted:

  • Clothing
  • Perishable food, canned goods, and sugary beverages
  • Bars of soap, shampoo, lotion and other beauty products

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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