Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls proclaimed a local emergency at approximately 1:50 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9, due to the unprecedented numbers of migrants entering the city prior to being processed and released by Border Patrol. The influx of these undocumented persons entering the Yuma area is resulting in a humanitarian and border crisis.
A significant number of migrants are entering the Yuma area and federal agency personnel are struggling to manage the flow of migrants in the community and at federal facilities. Within the last five days, there have been reports of over 6,000 migrants crossing from Mexico into the United States traveling through the Yuma area. The U. S. Customs and Border Protection reports the number of migrant encounters have increased by 2,647 percent since Oct. 1.
Migrants are traveling through Yuma during a time of great uncertainty about the COVID-19 virus, and without provisions for adequate food, water, shelter, transportation and medical care. This surge of migrants has and will continue to strain the ability of medical staff and local hospital resources to provide essential and necessary medical care.
Mayor Nicholls proclaimed a local emergency today to address the humanitarian crisis affecting the Yuma community and to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents. Federal and state resources are needed to address the current humanitarian crisis. This act makes the City eligible to receive state and federal funding for aid, relief, and assistance to mitigate the crisis.
“The change in the movement of migrants greatly impacts the Yuma community,” Nicholls said. He explained that federal resources must increase to meet this new level.
The surge of migrants has and will continue to directly impact Yuma’s agriculture industry. Currently, migrants are passing on foot through active agriculture fields. The encroachment on active production fields results in food safety concerns and the destruction of crops, which leads to significant economic loss and property damage in the farming community, loss of agriculture-related jobs, and a threat to the nation’s food security.
The Proclamation of Emergency – Humanitarian and Border Crisis can be viewed here.