Arizona town helpless amid migrant surge declares state of emergency

Mar 24, 2021, 4:55 AM | Updated: 8:51 am
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – The town of Gila Bend, just 60 miles southwest of Phoenix, has declared a state of emergency over the influx of asylum-seeking migrants being dropped off in the community.

Mayor Chris Riggs explained they simply do not have the resources or funds to deal with migrants the border patrol drops off in their town at their discretion.

“I’ve got nothing here, I’ve got no shelter, nowhere to put them,” Riggs said. “Literally, they’d be sleeping at the park and I’m not going to do that to little children.”

Riggs explained the emergency declaration will allow the town to continue serving its residents while helping migrants. He described the declaration as a push for help during a city council meeting Tuesday evening.

“I want to get Maricopa County to provide me, from the department of health services, with personnel and testing resources so that I can test these people,” Riggs said, adding he wants the state, through the National Guard, to help the town with transportation if a non-government organization is not available to help.

Riggs expressed frustration knowing his hands are tied since he cannot say no to the drops but cannot ignore migrants either.

“My political beliefs, all aside, I cannot leave children out in the middle of the elements,” he said. “I don’t know who could.”

As of Tuesday, the most recent drop of migrants in Gila Bend were six families, five from Venezuela and one from Chile, a total of 16 people including children.

Border patrol provided just a two-hour and thirty-minute warning before the drop.

Riggs said he and his wife had to transport the migrants themselves after U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona arranged for them to be housed in a Phoenix shelter, but were unable to find transportation for them.

Just three hours away in the border city of Nogales, Mayor Arturo Garino says there has been no increase in asylum seekers but shares the concern of other border mayors that if it does happen, the city does not have funds to deal with the situation.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Jose Dioicio Buelna. (Arizona Attorney General's Office Photo)...

Arizona man sentenced to 5 years for selling fentanyl

An Arizona man was sentenced to five years in prison last week for his role in a drug trafficking organization, authorities said. 
1 day ago
(Tempe Police Screenshot)...

Watch: Vehicle left in drive rams through Tempe shop

A pair of men narrowly avoided serious injury after a vehicle left in drive rammed through the front of a Tempe shop on Thursday afternoon.
1 day ago
Arizona activists want Gov. Doug Ducey, right, to denounce state Sen. Wendy Rogers over her respons...
Kevin Stone

Arizona political coalition urges Gov. Doug Ducey to condemn Sen. Wendy Rogers

An Arizona political coalition is calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to condemn state Sen. Wendy Rogers over her response to the Buffalo shooting.
1 day ago
(Chandler Police Screenshot)...
Danny Shapiro

Prosecutors don’t charge Chandler officer in fatal shooting of teen

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced Thursday it would not charge an officer who fatally shot a teenager in the back in Chandler early last year.
1 day ago
(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)...
SuElen Rivera

AAA expects busy roads in Arizona for Memorial Day weekend despite rising gas prices

Despite the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Phoenix reaching $5 last week, AAA expects more travelers for this Memorial Day weekend compared to last year. 
1 day ago
(Walmart Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Look! Up in the Arizona sky! It’s a Walmart delivery drone!

Walmart announced plans to launch, literally, a delivery service using aerial drones in Arizona and five other states.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Christina O’Haver

Stroke month: Experts call attention to stroke prevention

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
By Dr. Richard Carmona

Now’s a great time to receive your COVID-19 vaccine

If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine yet, now’s the time to join many other of your fellow Arizonans who are doing so right now. No one will criticize you; there is no shame. In fact, you’ll be welcomed with smiles and open arms!
Arizona town helpless amid migrant surge declares state of emergency