Local officials weigh in but seem to think most will not make it to Yuma - News 11's Cody Lee reports
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The North American Leader's Summit comes as a group of thousands of migrants begins to make their way to the United States.
But there is still a concern as some are expected to end up at shelters and perhaps border patrol facilities - if they choose to come to Yuma.
According to Yuma mayor Doug Nicholls, the large migrant caravan leaving Mexico may not even make it to the county due to distance.
“Just in general that the generic movement from Central America to the northern border is used as a pretty far tracking pass up a lot of opportunities along the way. So that's generally why we don't get a large group that comes specifically from Central America,” the mayor explained.
However, Nicholls says there’s still the possibility some will.
News 11 spoke to shelters in San Luis Mexico and Mexicali that are concerned about the influx of migrants since they’re already at max capacity.
As for migrants being housed inside a local hotel, “That money is through their regular DHS budget so it's federal money it's federal taxpayer money that's being used for those contracts and it's $365 a day a person,” Nicholls said.
That daily amount pays for the hotel, food, and any minor medical expenses like a COVID test.
The current caravan isn’t the only thing local leaders are focusing on, Representative Tim Dunn says there’s also the drug cartel problem.
“So the cartels are using the asylum seekers to come to the human port as a bait and switch that allows the drug runners to come across the other sections of the desert,” Dunn said.
The state-deployed National Guard along the border right now is only limited to certain duties along the border. They aren't allowed to interact with undocumented immigrants due to federal regulations but can assist with illegal drug entry.
If any migrants were to cross, Dunn says the department of homeland security shuttles them out within 48 hours.
Currently, the Yuma Sector apprehends over 750 migrants a day with border patrol facilities at capacity.