Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls proclaimed a local emergency at approximately 3:10 p.m. on Tuesday, Apr. 16, due to an overwhelming release of migrants into the Yuma community. Nearly 1,300 migrant family members have been released by U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) to the local shelter system in the last three weeks.
Mayor Nicholls proclaimed a local emergency to urge for federal assistance, as more migrant family units continue to be released into a shelter system already at capacity and maxed on resources and volunteers. The shelter system has a maximum capacity of 150-200 people, and it exceeded capacity today.
“Migrants continue to be released at a rate that cannot be sustained, overwhelming the current non-profit shelter system,” Mayor Nicholls said. He explained it needs to be clear at the national level that Yuma cannot sustain this humanitarian crisis. The proclamation was signed in attempt to avert hundreds of asylum-seeking migrants from being left without resources and potentially out in the greater community.
Mayor Nicholls explained migrant families released to the shelter are waiting to be transported to cities throughout the nation; they are not staying in the Yuma community. Prior to arriving at the local shelter, each migrant is processed through USBP, has been issued paperwork to travel in the United States, and has been ordered to appear at a court proceeding.
USBP conducts health and background screenings of each migrant family member. Local law enforcement agencies are engaged and in communication at all hours of the day to keep the community safe.