Gov. Doug Ducey said he’ll provide whatever state assistance he can to Yuma after Mayor Douglas Nicholls declared an emergency over an influx of migrants in the border city.
Nicholls on Tuesday proclaimed an emergency in Yuma, saying the city’s nonprofit shelter system has been stretched beyond capacity. He said U.S. Border Patrol has released 1,300 migrants into the city over the past three weeks, while Yuma’s shelter system has a capacity of about 200 people, which it exceeded on Tuesday. Most of the asylum seekers in Yuma will be transported to other cities, Nicholls said in his announcement.
The city is seeking assistance from the state and federal governments.
Ducey emphasized the problem is first and foremost a federal one, and called on Congress to fix what he called a crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. But he said he’s bringing nonprofit organizations and churches together, and that he’ll make state resources available to Yuma as well.
“We’re going to do everything that is within our power and resources to do,” Ducey told reporters on Wednesday following an economic development announcement in Scottsdale.
In a letter to Ducey on Monday, before Nicholls issued his emergency declaration, all 29 Democratic members of the Arizona House of Representatives urged the governor to provide more assistance to churches and other nonprofit groups that aid migrants with shelter, food and clothing. Among their requests was for the governor to help find a “long-term shelter solution” for asylum seekers.
Volunteers in the Phoenix area have been seeking similar assistance from the state and City of Phoenix for weeks, but those governments have so far offered no plans to help.