Yuma declares local emergency over surge of migrants at Mexico border
PHOENIX — Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls proclaimed a local emergency Thursday over what he said is a surge of migrants entering the city at the Mexico border.
Nicholls told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad on Wednesday about 6,000 people had crossed into Yuma over the previous five days.
“Right now, it’s at the point where so many people are coming across that Border Patrol can’t pick them all up within a couple hours,” Nicholls said.
“So they’re essentially camping along the border.”
Nicholls attributed the surge to the slow rollout in the return of the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which was reinstated Dec. 2.
Gov. Doug Ducey, who visited Yuma on Wednesday, also said a lack of urgency from the Biden administration enforcing the policy that requires migrants to stay in Mexico as they await immigration hearings is a main contributor to the increased numbers.
“Border Patrol picks them up and they process them as fast as they can,” Nicholls said.
The surge has caused a strain on local hospital resources and the agriculture industry, two reasons Nicholls said he issued the proclamation.
The Yuma mayor added that he declared the emergency to become eligible for state and federal funding that provides aid to slow the crisis.
Ducey has said he would deploy additional resources to ease safety and health concerns at the border, including sending more National Guard members.