“The number of migrants that come across on foot has ramped up substantially in just the last few weeks,” Chris Riggs, the mayor of Gila Bend, an Arizona border town of 2,000, told RT.
Mayor Riggs said he began worrying after the town was notified that border control officials will be releasing migrants in the local community after processing them quickly. At the same time, federal agencies did not provide enough information about the expected arrivals, he said.
Riggs is mostly concerned that people dropped off by border agents might slip past the process of being vetted for criminal history, or might not get checked for the coronavirus and other diseases, which can then spread “through a small community like wildfire.”
“I have a large number of seniors and elders. We’re hoping that Border Patrol will start testing before they release people,” Riggs said.
We want to see what their health records are so we can ensure that our citizens are protected. We have asked for that documentation, [and] we are yet to be provided with any documentation. Until we start seeing that – this is really opening up a Pandora’s box in our community.
The mayor further said that the rural town has no resources to host migrants or help them travel to a shelter.
US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said earlier this week that the country is set to see the biggest surge of migrants coming from poor Central American countries through the US southern border in 20 years. Border agents detained some 100,000 people last month.
President Joe Biden signed several executive orders aimed at undoing the hardline policies of his predecessor Donald Trump and streamlining the processing of migrants before they can be released from detention facilities.
White House officials, however, were very reluctant to call the situation at the border a ‘crisis.’ Mayor Riggs disagrees: “No, this is a crisis. As simple as that,” he argued, adding that the blame falls on the Biden administration, rather than on Border Patrol.
“They need to do their job. They need to have a plan in place. Obviously, there was no plan,” Riggs said.
From the start of his presidency, Biden has promised to build a “fair and humane” immigration system. At the same time, during this week’s interview with ABC he tried to discourage people from entering the US. “Don’t come,” he said. “We’re in the process of getting set up, don’t leave your town or city or community.”
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