McSally Visits Migrant Detention Center In Yuma

Published: Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, August 12, 2019 - 8:20am
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Sen. Martha McSally
Sen. Martha McSally

YUMA — Sen. Martha McSally conducted an official visit to Yuma this week. The topic: migrants and asylum seekers. She met with acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and was briefed by officials from the Arizona National Guard on the situation at the border.

McSally and McAleenan toured the new migrant holding facility that opened in late June. At a cost of $15 million, the tent-like detention center is designed to hold 500 migrants. McSally said it’s a far cry from the overcrowded detention facilities it was meant to replace.

“We saw kids watching cartoons, we saw kids playing ball with an agent and an adult,” McSally said. “We saw people sitting very comfortably with food and water and comfortable temperatures as they were getting ready to be processed.” 

The number of migrants crossing the border has dropped over the past few months. McSally credits the Mexican government with the reduction.

“Mexico is stepping up,” she said. “They’re doing more interdictions at their southern border.” 

Despite the drop in migrants, McSally said it’s still a crisis. She’s seeking emergency grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help Yuma deal with the “overwhelming” conditions. 

The migrants at the border are taking advantage of loopholes in the asylum law that McSally said need to be closed.

She has co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) that would establish refugee processing centers in Central America and Mexico, add up to 500 new immigration judges, and modify the law to allow families to be held longer than 20 days.

“My Democrat colleagues need to stop stonewalling the efforts we have to close our legal loopholes,” McSally said. “If we don’t do that, this crisis is going to continue to go on.”

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McSally Visits Migrant Facility in Yuma