“There has to be a national solution”: Mayor of Yuma where he started the liberation of families on the Arizona border | Your City 2020 Arizona elections

Border authorities began releasing immigrants in Yuma County in Arizona in a new arrival of people seeking to enter the United States to settle in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. These releases are unrelated to those planned this week in Texas and San Diego after the Biden administration ended Trump’s policy for asylum seekers to wait for their court dates in Mexico.

Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls reported that the Border Patrol released a group of 20 people on February 15 in the border city of San Luis. and that several groups with the same number of immigrants were released in the following days. These releases worry community groups and organizations that in 2019 had to battle for three months with the arrival of 5,700 migrants in the county of around 215,000 inhabitants.

Immigration officials generally release immigrants after handing over documents to appear in court, especially when they no longer have space to hold them, something that has escalated due to the pandemic.

Yuma does not have the resources to house, feed and provide other resources to a large influx of newly released migrants. “There is no capacity in our current non-profit system in Yuma, including shelters,” he told Fox Nicholls. The only temporary shelter in the area closed last year.

The new wave of migrant releases in Yuma is not related to asylum seekers who are scheduled to enter the United States through San Diego and Texas., after the Biden administration scrapped the Trump-era policy, Migrant Protection Protocols (PPM), also known as Remaining in Mexico, migrants seeking asylum in the US had to wait in Mexico for hearings in the US Federal Courts.

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Nicholls has spent much of the week on the phone with federal and state officials, as well as nonprofit social service agencies, for be prepared for any additional arrival of migrants to this area.

“The problem is a spike in arrests and insufficient staffing and detention capacity,” the mayor said. “I don’t think they should release these migrants into small communities that are not prepared to deal with them.”

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The International Rescue Committee in Arizona said the nonprofit is speaking with federal officials about the need to transport immigrants released in Yuma to other Arizona cities such as Phoenix, which has a center that has 150 beds and social distancing can be maintained. The organization’s spokesman, Stanford Prescott, mentioned that in Tucson there is another place equipped to house migrants.

Concern for the release of more people in Yuma has multiplied in recent days, and Arizona politicians have asked federal officials to make sure their border communities are not harmed. “This is a national problem, not a Yuma problem,” Nicholls said. “There has to be a national solution.

Republican Governor Doug Ducey and other elected officials have been concerned about how these releases amid the coronavirus pandemic could affect public health.

The State Department said it has health protocols, including Covid-19 testing, for migrants released under the Remain in Mexico program. But it is unclear whether people outside the program now being released in Yuma are being tested for infection.

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