Yuma mayor steadfast at the border despite drop in migrants this month
PHOENIX — Since President Joe Biden announced his latest border restrictions in early January, there’s been a shift in the number of migrants coming to the border.
Whether it’s the latest policy change or the post-holiday season affecting migrant crossings at the border is a question that will be answered over time, one border county official said Tuesday.
Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show it’s too early to tell what is influencing migrant travel at the border.
He confirmed there’s been a drop in migrant activity in his county, with 2,500 migrants coming to the border last week alone.
“However, I just got worried the last two days. There’s been an uptick back towards our normal, so I’m not exactly sure where things are going as we speak,” Nicholls said.
Earlier this month, the Biden Administration announced it would immediately begin turning away migrants at the border coming from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua.
Last year, an average of about 6,400 total migrants passed through Arizona’s Yuma Sector each week, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Biden’s new measures were announced Jan. 5 after December saw the highest number of illegal border crossings during any month of his presidency.
“I really don’t understand all the dynamics, to be honest, on how much the policy shift did impact the flow through Yuma,” he said.
“So until things return to normal, which is still below the level we’re at, there’s no sense in taking the foot off the gas.”
Yuma’s mayor said having a contractor on site to finish building and filling in gaps at the border wall “is a step forward we haven’t seen in two years.”
“I know they’ve moved to the site, they’ve gotten their equipment to the site,” Nicholls said. “I understand they’re in some sort of delay or stall at this point, but they’re there. I haven’t seen an updated schedule.”
Despite delays in the schedule, Nicholls is hopeful he can visit with Gov. Katie Hobbs and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in the future.
“I’ve been talking to the governor’s office and those plans are nowhere near solid yet,” Nicholls said.
He added: “I talk facts… When you’re presented with numbers and facts that are thought out, I think there’s a better chance of having a positive reaction and getting your message clear and across in a way that they can take it back to D.C.
“It needs to happen. He needs to take reality back to D.C.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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