Ducey speaks in Yuma as local officials report a rise in migrant apprehensions

Published: Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 10:36am
Updated: Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 8:02am
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Officials in Yuma say about 5,000 migrants and asylum seekers have presented themselves to the Border Patrol since the end of last week. The news drew Gov. Doug Ducey to an afternoon press conference at the border there Tuesday. 

Joined by law enforcement officers and local leaders from Yuma, Ducey stood along a stretch of border where two sections of border wall nearly meet and a Colorado River canal separates the U.S. and Mexico. The governor again called the situation a "crisis" of the Biden administration's making and said people are coming to the border ahead of the re-implementation of the "Remain in Mexico" program. 

"People are racing to Arizona in droves to arrive before it’s implemented," he said. 

Hear KJZZ's Alisa Reznick discuss the surge in migrants with Host Lauren Gilger on The Show

Most migrants and asylum seekers are not permitted to stay in the U.S. But in Yuma, those who are receive help from the Regional Center for Border Health. 

"We are committed to continuing our support to Border Patrol and ICE officials so as soon as those people that are at the border right now are processed, we will be more than happy to step up and help them," says Alex Bejarano with the group.

After they're processed by the Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, migrants and asylum seekers are dropped off with Bejarano’s group, where they receive COVID-19 testing and transportation out of Yuma to join sponsors elsewhere in the U.S.

Ducey said he would deploy additional National Guard personnel, along with a fleet of ATVs and a helicopter. 

Bejarano says his team was not contacted by the governor. 

KAWC reporter Sumiko Keil contributed to this report. 

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