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Immigrants flood Greyhound terminal

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

According to volunteers, every day starting about 10 a.m., a bus pulls into the Greyhound terminal in downtown Tucson carrying 15 to 20 people from Central America.

It generally happens three times a day.

There are no government services awaiting them, most have no money, no food and most are mothers with young children who are in the country illegally. They have no knowledge about the culture and speak no English.

Volunteers from Catholic Services welcome them, feed them and help them go on their way.

If the layover until the next bus is a long one, a volunteer may take them home for a meal, shower and a night's rest.

As is the case with the immigrant children from Central America, the number of adults or mothers with children has become a daily

"The numbers continue to increase," says Sabrina Lopez, from Catholic Community Services, who is supervising the volunteers. "We have looked at having another intake center but nothing has come of that."

Right now, the volunteers are relying on the generosity of the Greyhound Lines, Inc.

Greyhound has partitioned off a space where the immigrants can rest, eat and stay out of sight of the other passengers until their bus leaves.

One child which arrived had to be taken by ambulance to St.Mary's Hospital, treated and released.

The fire department says calls to Greyhound have not increased during the past few weeks as more immigrants arrive.

But it's a tense environment and nerves are frayed.

A verbal confrontation between Greyhound and a volunteer has led to rule changes to avoid more problems.

A Greyhound spokesperson sent an email which said "we have established guidelines for volunteer to abide by going forward that we believe will eliminate future disruptions."

But it has also led to rumors that the volunteers may have to move, a rumor denied by the volunteers.

"Greyhound has been very accommodating," says Lopez and says there is no indication that Greyhound wants them to move.

But as the numbers increase, so does the need for more space.

"It's something we're trying to do," says Lopez.

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