According to O’Keefe, buses were coming in with new migrants every 15 minutes, including during his “interrogation” by a Pima County Sheriff Deputy. During the interaction, O’Keefe disclosed that he had an “undercover” inside the facility. It was reported by O’Keefe that there was a makeshift room in the hotel with over 150 cots set up (photo).
The reporting by O’Keefe caught the attention of US Representative Tom Tiffany (WI-7), who sits on the House Judiciary and Natural Resources committees, as well as Doug LaMalfa (CA-1), who is on the Natural Resources Committee.
During a trip to Arizona, Reps. Tiffany and LaMalfa decided to visit the very same facility O’Keefe had documented previously. Upon arrival, Rep. Tiffany identified himself as a member of Congress on the Natural Resources Committee to an individual working at the hotel. Rep. Tiffany said he wanted to “stop in and take a look at how this place is operating because we understand that you have a lot of migrants come through here,” but was denied access because “unfortunately, we’re not allowed to let anybody that’s not…employees or staff [in].”
Rep. Tiffany said this facility was utilizing federal funding, of which US Congress has oversight, and that he would like to speak with a manager. The employee wouldn’t even let the congressmen into the office.
A woman in a hoodie and a surgical mask then appears. When the congressmen introduce themselves, the woman says, “No cameras please,” and asks someone to “Call the sheriff! Call 911! Because they’re on private property.”
Rep. Tiffany told the woman that they were not trespassing. After being told they were trespassing, they once again identified themselves as members of Congress.
“No, we’re here as members of Congress, and there are federal dollars that go into this operation. So we have oversight. And we just want to go in and see what your operation looks like.”
Rep. Tiffany told the woman that they would call for public hearings “because there appears there are other operations like this and people really need to know where their dollars are being spent.”
As Rep. LaMalfa was talking about being able to issue subpoenas, the woman walked away from the two members of Congress.
The organization that runs this facility is reported as Casa Alitas, a program of the Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. Their website claims they are “a humanitarian aid project committed to helping asylum-seekers.”
The House Committee on Natural Resources is chaired by Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-4). The 45-member committee includes Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-9), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-3).