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Mayor of Arizona city declares a state of emergency, says the mass release of migrants poses 'imminent threat'


City resources cannot handle the flood of immigrants

Image source: City of Yuma video screenshot

Mayor Doug Nicholls has issued a state of emergency for the city of Yuma, Arizona, citing an "imminent threat" to residents and property over the mass release of migrants into the border city, the Arizona Republic reported.

The city's resources cannot handle the overwhelming number of migrants that continue pouring into Yuma, Nicholls said Tuesday during a press conference.

"Migrants continue to be released at a rate that cannot be sustained, overwhelming the current non-profit shelter system," Nicholls said in a statement.

At least 1,300 migrants were released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection over a three-week period into the local non-profit shelter.

What's the story?

The shelter, which has a maximum capability to house 150 to 200 migrants, has exceeded its ability to house and provide basic human needs, according to the mayor.

"Today is a day that we had talked about three weeks ago, hoping never to get to," Nicholls said.

"Throughout the country we are in a position that needs to be rectified on a national level, not just within the resources of our Yuma community, to avert the threat of hundreds of people roaming the streets looking to satisfy basic human needs in our community and not having the resources to do so and the reaction of the citizens of Yuma looking to protect their property and way of life," he continued.

The same day that Nicholls announced the proclamation, he received a call from Border patrol officials who alerted him that CBP would release 120 additional migrants into the city the same day.

"We need to make sure that our community is maintained and that the human rights of all the migrants are also maintained and that we have a path forward that respects both," he said.

Many of the migrant families released to the city's shelter were waiting for transportation to other cities across the country.

"The transportation network is just insufficient to keep up with demand," Nicholls said. "And the backlog of people staying at the shelter has created this capacity issue."

What else?

The city hopes that the emergency proclamation will draw national attention to the communities that are struggling with the immigrant crisis.

On Tuesday, CBP was holding at least 950 migrants, mostly family units, at its Yuma detention center. Agents apprehended at least 400 more on Wednesday.

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