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Grijalva asks President for funding for border cities

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Congressman writes letter seeking assistance for areas impacted by asylum-seekers

TUCSON, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Rep. Raúl Grijalva on Thursday reached out to President Joe Biden to get help for Arizona border cities that could be impacted by an influx of asylum-seekers.

The letter was written on the same day the Biden administration announced a change in border enforcement policies. New guidelines refocus U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts on dangerous, criminal migrants. Trump-era directives focused on all illegal immigrants.

The ease in restrictions means Border Patrol will begin releasing some migrants into the community. Yuma Mayor Douglas Nichols raised an alert about the influx earlier this week.

Now Rep. Grijalva, (D, Ariz.) has written the President, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, asking them to provide supplemental federal funds to cities that could see an uptick in migrants. The Congressman also wants assistance for the charitable organizations that typically provide food and shelter for asylum seekers.

“Throughout the years in my congressional district, non-governmental organizations, counties, and cities have been at the forefront of assisting these families after they’re released from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody. With limited support from the federal government, they are helping them navigate a difficult and complex asylum process as they pursue their asylum claim through immigration court proceedings.

As we continue to address this ongoing humanitarian crisis, I ask that you designate supplemental federal funds that can immediately be accessed by non-governmental organizations, counties, and cities that are assisting asylum seeking families at the U.S.-Mexico border.”

- Letter from Rep. Raúl Grijlava, (D-Ariz.)

Rep. Grijlava says FEMA has released funding for humanitarian relief in the past. He calls on the agency to make use of the Homeland Security Grant Program once again to help those dedicated to helping those along the southern border.

“As these organizations, cities, and counties continue to support asylum seekers and families, time is of the essence,” continued Rep. Grijalva. “Furthermore, any additional funds allocated to provide humanitarian relief, should only be used to support these efforts. I hope that you recognize the urgency and reply to this letter as soon as possible.”

- Letter from Rep. Raúl Grijlava, (D-Ariz.)

Read Rep. Grijalva's full letter to the President

Grijalva's congressional colleague, Rep. Paul Gosar, (R-Ariz.) responded to the change in border policy by calling on the Yuma County Sheriff to arrest illegal immigrants in Yuma County and detain them until they can be screened for coronavirus and expelled. Sheriff Leon Wilmot declined Gosar's directive citing his lack of authority.

Yuma Sector Border Patrol did confirm it will release screened migrants into Yuma County when holding facilities get full. Agents did not provide a specific number, but they did tell News 11 they've seen a drastic increase in apprehensions in recent weeks.

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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she and her family have a long history in the Desert Southwest.

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