YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls says an emergency situation in the southwestern Arizona border city has eased with federal officials moving in additional personnel in response to thousands of migrants.
“As it sits today, people are not waiting along the border wall for very long,” Nicholls said Friday, the Yuma Sun reported. “It seems that the immediate issue has been resolved. I’m still concerned for the long term.”
Nicholls on Thursday declared a state of emergency and he said Friday he had spoken with federal officials and with the aides to Gov. Doug Ducey and to both of Arizona’s U.S. senators.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security “is recommitting 110 agents to the Yuma area from throughout the country to help with what’s going on here,” Nicholls said.
Nicholls’ emergency declaration cited reports of over 6,000 migrants crossing from Mexico into the United States traveling through the Yuma area. The asylum-seekers were without blankets, food or water and had to wait extended periods because there weren’t enough Border Patrol agents to quickly process border-crossers for release to organizations contracted to provide temporary services, Nicholls said.
Ducey on Tuesday demanded that President Joe Biden’s administration do more to secure the border. He faulted the Biden administration for incrementally reinstating former President Donald Trump’s policy requiring asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico as they await immigration hearings.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki last week described the policy as “deeply flawed” but said the administration was working to implement it under court order. The administration reinstated the policy beginning last week in El Paso, Texas.
Ducey said the piecemeal implementation led migrants to rush to other parts of the border and cross into the U.S. before the policy is rolled out more widely.