Yuma mayor Nicholls hopeful about state’s end of Title 42 plan as surge in migrants continues

May 9, 2023, 10:00 AM

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls said that even though much uncertainty will come with the end of Title 42 on Thursday, he’s hopeful about a plan presented by Arizona’s governor to mitigate difficulties.

He said Gov. Katie Hobbs’ five-point plan to address the end of Title 42 that was unveiled during a press conference Monday is “a great start.”

“Part of the struggle at the press conference … was not knowing numbers. We haven’t known numbers. No one’s going to be able to tell us numbers because it is unknown,” Nicholls said.

“So we’ll see what the plan looks like when it’s in action… I appreciate the fact that there is an a semblance of a plan.”

The Title 42 preparedness approach plan involves providing shelter to migrants, taking executive action, ensuring transportation to migrants, building on partnerships and attention on public safety.

As a migrant surge is expected to follow with the end of the public health measure, the Biden administration announced last week it will send 1,500 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

So far, the mayor said he hasn’t heard of a definitive number heading to his sector.

“If any, it’s supposed to be very, very minor,” Nicholls said. “I think everything is being surged to El Paso.”

The average number of migrants crossing through the Yuma sector at the end of last year was about 1,000, according to Nicholls. Up until about a month ago, the average number dipped down to 300.

Since then, the mayor said the amount spiked up to 600 about two weeks ago. By 8 a.m. Monday, he said 500 people had already been interdicted in the sector.

“I’m going to guess we’re probably going to be [in] the 1,200-1,500 range just because I think if it was a large group like 10 [thousand], DHS should be more aware of it than just thousands at a time,” Nicholls said.

“I don’t know that the secretary will be more aware of it but the boots on the ground, the men and women that I talk to, they would be more aware of it.”

For border patrol agents, Nicholls said, “They are unsupported from a very real mission-focused perspective. They signed up to be a border agent in order to secure the border, not to process migrants and push people into the country.

“They were there to secure it, to protect communities they live in and the country they love and to watch the laws and of the land to be ignored and the policies written around them is demoralizing.”

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Yuma mayor Nicholls hopeful about state’s end of Title 42 plan as surge in migrants continues