Yuma mayor declares local emergency due to 'humanitarian and border crisis'

·2 min read
A group of migrants walk to line up in front of Border Patrol agents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally through the Yuma Sector near Somerton, Arizona, on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.
A group of migrants walk to line up in front of Border Patrol agents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally through the Yuma Sector near Somerton, Arizona, on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.

Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls proclaimed a local emergency on Thursday due to the large numbers of migrants coming through the Arizona border city.

The emergency declaration takes immediate effect and will allow the City of Yuma to access aid from state and federal agencies to address the crisis.

The emergency announcement stated that U.S. Border Patrol agents have encountered over 6,000 migrants just in the past five days in the area. A situation that is "resulting in a humanitarian and border crisis,” the city news release said.

Nicholls also said the large numbers of migrants coming through the U.S.-Mexico border has caused an impact in the farming community, as migrants walk through active agriculture fields and could represent a "loss of agriculture-related jobs, and a threat to the nation’s food security."

Yuma has seen the largest increase in illegal crossings in the southwestern U.S. border this year. The trend has been ongoing since June, starting with 12,432 apprehensions by border agents then, and reaching 21,623 in October.

For nearly 14 miles, a mostly dry riverbed and a vehicle barrier are all that divide the state of Baja California, Mexico, from Arizona. Families and single adults from Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Guatemala made up most of those crossing to Yuma this year.

In October, half of the encounters reported by Customs and Border Protection in the Yuma Sector were with families and unaccompanied children.

While in the Tucson Sector most migrants are expelled under Title 42, in Yuma they are apprehended, detained and, in some circumstances, released under humanitarian parole. In October, only 9% were processed under Title 42, according to CBP data. The rest are processed under Title 8 for either expedited or full removal proceedings.

CBP said in a statement that they are currently "managing the effects on Yuma Sector of the exploitation on those vulnerable populations" and will continue to collaborate with local authorities to process migrants "expeditiously."

Have news tips or story ideas about the Arizona-Sonora borderlands? Reach the reporter at cmigoya@arizonarepublic.com or send a direct message in Twitter to @ClaraMigoya.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Yuma declares local emergency due to unprecedented number of migrants

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