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.
Mayor Nicholls said Tuesday that he hoped not to get to this point but that organizations that have been helping immigrant families just don’t have capacity to deal with the masses of people.
The mayor is asking 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.
“We’ve never seen these types of numbers at the border,” Gov. Doug Ducey said. “ICE, Border Patrol are at the breaking point. We’re calling on congress to act on this crisis.”
Border cities have seen a large number of immigrant families from Central America being dropped off by immigration authorities who also do not have the resources to process them.
“We’re above capacity,” Ducey said. “137% in Phoenix, 170% in Yuma.”
The Border Patrol is on pace to apprehend a million immigrants this fiscal year.