The Yuma County Board of Supervisors (BOS) officially declared a state of emergency regarding the southern border Wednesday, citing concerns with health and the potential increase of migrant activity in the coming month.
“More than 300,000 apprehensions have been made by Yuma Sector agents in fiscal year 2022. The number of asylum seekers is expected to increase sharply with the expiration of Title 42 on Wednesday, December 21. The emergency declaration will allow for additional flexibility and resources to address the evolving issue,” according to the declaration.
Yuma Board of Supervisors (BOS) Chairman Marco “Tony” Reyes proclaimed the emergency, saying the county faces a “triple threat” of health concerns from COVID-19, Respiratory Synthetic Virus, and Influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently has the COVID-19 community level in Yuma set to high, which Reyes said presents a risk to county residents.
Moreover, with Title 42 set to end, Reyes said that border encounters and asylum seekers are expected to increase by 40 percent after that happens. The increase in migrants, in tandem with health concerns, could put a significant strain on local hospitals, federal and state resources, and local nonprofits, making it harder for citizens and migrants to receive needed help. Reyes stated there are also no shelters ready for an increase in migrant activity, which means they may be released into the streets of Yuma.
Through this declaration, the Yuma BOS has the authority to “impose all necessary regulations to preserve the peace and order” within the county.
Moreover, as reported by AZ Central, the U.S. Border Patrol is not forthcoming about its plans to deal with a potential increase in immigration once Title 42 ends. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that 9,000 to 14,000 migrants may try to cross into the county daily. Some Border Patrol agents could have workloads double or more than what they are used to, which could result in overcrowding immigration facilities and longer detention times.
As reported by The Arizona Sun Times, the situation at the southern border is as bad as ever, even before the post-Title 42 reality. Since the Biden administration took office, “gotaways,” or immigrants who illegally enter the county without being caught, apprehensions, and border crossing deaths are all skyrocketing.
However, in good news for Yuma, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) celebrated the efforts of Yuma Sector Border Patrol Chief Chris Clem for his 25-plus years of service by presenting him with a commendation.
“Yuma Sector Border Patrol Chief Chris Clem’s efforts to secure the border and protect the Yuma community have been invaluable to our state – and nation,” said Ducey.
Yuma Sector Border Patrol Chief Chris Clem’s efforts to secure the border and protect the Yuma community have been invaluable to our state – and nation. We’re grateful for his partnership and the expertise he brought from his 25+ years of working in Border Patrol. @USBPChiefYUM pic.twitter.com/lA5JkRe5er
— Doug Ducey (@DougDucey) December 15, 2022
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