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Arizona House Member Delegation discusses ‘Secure the Border Act’ in Yuma

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Members of the Arizona House of Representatives discussed on Monday in Yuma how the controversial "Secure the Border Act" could impact border security in our area and the rest of the state. 

Every month thousands of migrants cross the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum.

Yuma Regional Medical Center just shared that in the last nine months, they have taken care of about 90 migrants and that supplies are running low.

Some state lawmakers believe the 'Secure the Border Act' would help with this issue.

As the border crisis continues, the costs are adding up.

“There’s no method that says, Yuma County can do all these things and we're just going to write you a check, it's going to have to be a work in progress as we balance that," stated Rep. Tim Dunn (R-Arizona), District 25.

But one local state lawmaker Tim Dunn believes this act would help Arizona save money.

"If it costs $1,200 a person now to do what we're doing, the long-term effects with what the hospital said and what we're actually doing is going to reduce our costs over time, it's been proven," shared Rep., Dunn.

The piece of the text stirring the most controversy would make it a state crime for those who cross the border illegally.

But Dunn said law enforcement would need to have a valid reason before stopping someone. 

“It does not allow our first responders or our sheriffs, our first responders and our police agents to racially profile, they have to have probable cause. They either have to have camera data, they’re going to be working with CBP," stated Rep. Dunn.

He also said some migrants are evading Border Patrol.

"It's about the gotaways, we have the CBP taking care of those ones that are crossing, but you got the gotaways that are getting away in the desert," said Rep. Dunn.

Migrant encounters are not the only thing the resolution is meant to tackle.

“We’ve got obviously major issues with human trafficking with fentanyl, and HCR 2060 is attempting to help," said Rep. Ben Toma (R-Arizona), District 27.

The text includes stricter penalties for fentanyl increasing the minimum and maximum sentence by five years.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in Fiscal Year 2023, 26,718 pounds of fentanyl were seized on the southwest border.

In Fiscal Year 2024, they seized 10,881 pounds of fentanyl.

HCR 2060 would also strengthen the E-Verify program confirming a person is legally present in the U.S. before receiving public assistance.

The Arizona House of Representatives is set to vote on the resolution on Tuesday. 

If the House passes it, it will be on the ballot in November leaving it in the hands of voters.

You can watch the livestream of the roundtable discussion below.

Article Topic Follows: Yuma County

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Valeria Rodriguez

Valeria Rodriguez joined the KYMA team as a multimedia journalist in June 2023.
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