The mayor of Yuma, Arizona, Douglas Nicholls, has symbolically declared a state of emergency in order to deal with the large number of families that the Border Patrol has released into the city. On Tuesday, Mayor Nicholls stated that he never wanted to get to this point, but the organizations that are responsible for helping immigrant families aren’t capable of handling so many people.
In response to the overwhelming amount of immigrants in his community, Nicholls reached out to the federal government for support. He suggested that FEMA may be able to send some resources. The state of emergency declaration doesn’t actually allow them to receive any funds, but it does call on the government for assistance.
According to Nicholls, who is a Republican, the situation “isn’t a natural disaster, but it is a disaster either way.” If the government could help provide resources to the community then the situation could be potentially be taken care of.
Since immigration authorities don’t have enough resources to process all of the families, who are mostly coming from Central America, they’re just dropping them off in the cities along the border. In March, more than 100,000 people attempted to cross the border. Immigration authorities have said that they’re on the track of arresting more than a million a people by the end of the year.
Border officials In the area of Yuma have seen a tremendous number of immigrant families who turn themselves in at the border. Many of the immigrants are seeking asylum from the country of Guatemala in Central America.
The people of Yuma helped coordinate the opening of an emergency shelter, but it’s only able to hold 150 people. According to Nicholls, there were 200 immigrants in the shelter, which was more than they were expecting. Nicholls fears that if there isn’t enough room for them in the shelter, the immigrants will end up living on the streets.
Spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey, Patrick Ptak, explained that the office will look over the emergency declaration as soon as they receive it. Unfortunately, this crisis is due to Congress’ failure to act. The problem can only be solved by Congress, and according to Ptak, the governor has urged Congress to actually take action, instead of playing with politics.
It’s clear that while there’s still a lot that needs to be done, they are making efforts to help the situation in the meantime. Ptak has said that the governor is working with non-profit groups, local governments, and federal officials in an attempt to maximize the number of resources that are available.
Mayor Nicholls has released warnings to his community. He has informed them that there could be mobs of people “roaming the streets looking to satisfy basic human needs,” which could undoubtedly cause the citizens of Yuma who are trying to protect their own property,
If something isn’t done soon, then Nicholls could be looking at a dangerous situation in his community. “There is an imminent threat on having too many migrant releases into our community. It’s above our capacity as a community to sustain,” said Nicholls.