YUMA, Ariz. (AP) - Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls has declared a state of emergency to deal with the number of families being released from Border Patrol custody into the city.
Nicholls said Tuesday that he hoped not to get to this point but that organizations helping immigrant families just don't have the capacity to deal with so many.
The mayor is calling on the federal government to send resources, suggesting a FEMA response. The city's emergency shelter can hold 150 people but had about 200 on Tuesday and was expecting more, Nicholls said.
Border cities have seen a large number of immigrant families from Central America being dropped off by immigration authorities who don't have the resources to process them.
The Border Patrol is on pace to apprehend a million immigrants this fiscal year.
Mayor: Migrants being released into the community faster than they are departing, and shelters and the staff to run them are at max capacity. A state of emergency is declared.— City of Yuma (@cityofyuma) April 16, 2019
Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey, said the office will review the declaration once it is received.
"Ultimately, this humanitarian crisis is the result of Congress' failure to act. It will only be solved by Congress actually doing something, and the governor has vocally urged Congress to quit playing politics and take action," Ptak said.
Ptak said the governor is working with local governments, non-profits groups and federal officials to "maximize available resources."
CBP is facing an alarming trend in the rising volume of people illegally crossing our Southwest Border. The arriving flow is made up primarily of Central American families and unaccompanied children. This stark and increasing shift to more vulnerable populations, combined with the overwhelming numbers, and inadequate capacity to detain families and children has created a humanitarian and border security crisis. The increase in apprehensions is taxing the entire immigration system, especially the capabilities of ICE and CBP, creating an untenable situation for both CBP personnel and migrants.