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McSally wants Congress to approve $4.5B for migrant help in border towns

(AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Martha McSally is calling on her colleagues in Congress to approve $4.5 billion requested by the White House to provide relief to towns that are being overwhelmed with migrant releases.

McSally (R-Ariz.) said the majority of the funds — $3.3 billion — would be used to assist migrants who are being dropped off in places like Yuma, which recently declared a state of emergency over the high number of releases.

“They are dealing with the brunt of, in a small community, Border Patrol being overwhelmed” and having to release migrants from federal custody, McSally told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

“They’re just overwhelmed, and Yuma is on the end of it. This money will actually help take this off the Yuma community’s back and put it back [on] the federal government.”

The White House asked Congress for the emergency funds Wednesday as it grapples with a surge of Central American migrant families seeking refuge in the U.S. $3.3 billion of that money would be used to increase shelter capacity for unaccompanied migrant children and for the feeding and care of families, plus transportation and processing centers.

Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls met with President Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss solutions to the situation along the border, two weeks after declaring a state of emergency when the town’s migrant shelters exceeded capacity.

Lawmakers in Arizona on both sides of the aisle have been working recently to help the southern Arizona town, with both McSally and Democratic U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema meeting with Nicholls this week.

Sinema said in a statement that the pair discussed the ongoing migrant crisis as well as the military projects at the border.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva also wrote a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Wednesday asking for details about the migrant families being released in Arizona.

McSally said she hopes both Republicans and Democrats can come together to provide resources so communities like Yuma “are not being overwhelmed with these people being released on the streets.

“The crisis on the border is becoming more real to people through communities around the country,” McSally said.

“They are hopefully calling on their members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to sit down and solve this thing.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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