YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - This week the Congressional Border Security Caucus held its first meeting of the year to discuss the impacts of the current border conditions.
The meeting was conducted by Republican lawmakers including Rep. Debbie Lesko and Rep. Andy Biggs, two United States representatives serving Arizona.
Yuma, like other border cities and towns, saw an influx of undocumented immigrants coming into the U.S. using open gaps in the border wall most of last year, with a peak in November and December.
One of the reasons why Mayor Nicholls and Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines are now bringing this directly to the nation’s Capitol.
“True immigration should be happening through the regular process. Unfettered access to the country really isn't good for the country and those that experienced the travesties along the way it's not good for them either,” Nicholls said.
Late last year, many Haitians started contributing to the peak, but with Title 42 in place, agents can deport migrants from certain countries right away due to the pandemic.
Supervisor Lines believes this is why recently apprehension numbers have dropped.
“Where we were averaging right at 1,000, I believe we were just below 500 today because of that enforcement action,” Lines explained. “The Haitians are one of those groups just because of the sheer volume of numbers of people that are able to be returned,” he added.
Lines even says the Yuma Sector facilities are not as packed.
“The numbers have been much more manageable and they have fewer people in there now than they've had before,” Lines continued.
As for the 'Remain in Mexico' policy, which has only been reimplemented in a few sectors of the southern border, Mayor Nicholls says it’s not doing much to help our area.
“Right now, the wind program was the way it went back in place. It's only about 1% of the people are already eligible for the program and 'Remain in Mexico' until their court date. So it's not nearly having the impact. Actually, I would argue it's probably not having any impact,” the mayor said.
“Previously, it was about 10% of the daily crossers that were able to be returned to Mexico to wait,” Nicholls added.
News 11 reached out to the Yuma Sector Border Patrol but we’re waiting to hear back.
Another concern, Yuma's agriculture industry.
Lines says there have been many reports of migrants walking through ag fields.
They also pleaded for more agents on the ground.