WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the House Budget Committee heard from the Mayor of Yuma, Arizona, Douglas Nicholls, about the ongoing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border, where local communities like Yuma are in desperate need of additional resources to address the record number of migrants entering the country from Mexico.
Click HERE or the image above to view Mayor Nicholls’ post-hearing interview with Fox & Friends.
As Ranking Member Steve Womack (R-AR) remarked in his opening statement:
“The systems and infrastructure we have in place are not sufficient to handle this level of migration. And as [Mayor Nicholls] will tell us today, it’s our local communities that are having to pay the price.”
When asked by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) if the thousands of migrants entering his city constitute a crisis, Mayor Nicholls responded simply, “they very much do.”
He explained that Yuma does not have the resources available to adequately respond to this crisis:
“The status of immigration is a critical issue for Yuma … the drain of resources and the strain on the community needs to stop.”
As Mayor Nicholls further explained, the city “set up a temporary 200-bed shelter system in order to address the humanitarian concerns of the migrant families being released. … On April 16th, the capacity of that shelter was exceeded, and I had to declare a local emergency. … That has happened three more times since that first event. To date, we have had 5,146 people come through that shelter system in three months. This is completely unsustainable.”
The hospital in Yuma is also suffering from this crisis according to Mayor Nicholls, having “seen 1,300 migrant patients since the beginning of the year at a cost of over $800,000, and only one-third of that cost is reimbursed by the government.”
He continued, “as a community, it’s very unsustainable … our community has experienced over a million and a half dollars in the last three months worth of impact.”
When Ranking Member Womack asked how Yuma has been able to support its basic needs even as more city resources are diverted into the crisis, Mayor Nicholls replied:
“In the city budget … our real struggles have been with law enforcement to make sure that we can supply for the protection of the community.”
One such struggle has been addressing human trafficking. When Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) asked if Yuma has “the resources necessary to combat trafficking,” Mayor Nicholls responded, “we do not.”
Calling on Congress to take action, the Mayor said, “[this crisis] is definitely a national issue, but it’s not being funded nationally. It’s on the backs of our communities, on the backs of our nonprofits.”
He added, “the fate of our community in this area is in the hands of those who do set those laws, and that is Congress and this administration.”
To learn more about the hearing, click HERE.