/ Modified mar 29, 2019 10:50 a.m.

Border Officials Releasing Detained Migrants in Yuma

Some politicians pushed back against the practice, while officials have used the term "breaking point" to describe the situation at the border.

CBP Yuma 2 Migrants who crossed the border near Yuma in tunnels under the border fence stand in line waiting for Border Patrol agents to process them on Jan. 14, 2019.
CBP Arizona


The federal government announced Thursday it was going to begin releasing newly detained migrants in Yuma. Those detained will be given a notice to appear at an immigration court hearing farther inside the United States. But instead of taking those asylum seekers to the much larger Phoenix, where they could then be bused throughout the country, they’ll release them at the border.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Martha McSally criticized the federal government’s policy of releasing asylum seekers, saying the situation is not sustainable.

"We’re hearing a great deal of frustration about that. Individuals being released into the community without any notice, coordination and really it’s just getting worse and worse," she told KJZZ's The Show.

In Yuma, Republican Mayor Douglas Nicholls sought to soothe concerns in his city.

"I strongly encourage Yuma residents to not engage temporary facilities to express frustration or displeasure with the system. I fully encourage those conversations to happen with our federal elected officials," he said.

He said 200 people a day would be released in Yuma.

State Republican lawmaker Tim Dunn called for help from FEMA. "This policy is likely to motivate even more migrants to cross the border. The emergency on the border has escalated to a crisis situation that will continue to cause a run on our southern border," he said in a statement.

Customs and Border Protection officials say holding facilities are at capacity along the U.S.-Mexico border as several thousand migrants a day arrive on U.S. soil to ask for asylum. They’ve begun using phrases like "breaking point" to describe the situation along the border.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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