Joseph Choi, The Hill, March 24, 2021
An Arizona mayor on Tuesday declared a state of emergency over the number of migrants being dropped off in his town by federal authorities.
“Border Patrol let us know that they were going to be dropping migrants that had been detained for 72 hours in our town, which we really didn’t understand because we have nothing here,” Gila Bend Mayor Chris Riggs told Fox Business. “We have no charity organizations that can help, no non-governmental organizations that a lot of the larger cities and towns do have to assist these people.”
Riggs’s declaration reportedly came one day after 16 migrants were dropped off at a park in Gila Bend — a town of only 2,000 people that does not have a hospital or a shelter — by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Riggs said he had been told by CBP that these drop-offs would be a regular occurrence on an indefinite basis.
“To drop people in basically the middle of nowhere, it’s 30 miles to the next type of town, and that’s 30 miles of open desert. So especially come July and August, we’re going to be finding bodies,” Riggs told azfamily.com.
The mayor said he and his wife used loaned vans to drive the recent migrants to the Phoenix Welcome Center themselves in order to ensure they had a place to stay.