YUMA, Ariz. (NewsNation) — The mayor of Yuma, Arizona, said the record number of migrants crossing the southern border is beginning to strain the city’s medical industry.
Republican Mayor Doug Nicholls said that while a local nonprofit is helping thousands of migrants gain access to resources once they arrive, the city is facing a hefty price for their medical care.
“We have $20 million of unreimbursed expenses dealing directly with the healthcare for migrants as they’re coming through — and that in just in the last six months,” said Nicholls. “Those costs are passed on to the people who live here year-round.”
Nicholls agrees with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision to place shipping containers at the southern border as a means of “funneling” migrants to specific checkpoints, but said he would rather see policy at a federal level.
“(Policy is) the single word that would have a dramatic change on all elements of the border,” he said. “If we had policies that actually prosecuted smugglers, as well as those trying to cross illegally and repeatedly, we would see a change along the border.”
Americans are largely divided on how to address immigration, but a February poll found that nearly 70% of Americans support a path to citizenship.
“Despite whether you think there should be more immigration or less immigration, whether or not you think there should be a wall or not be a wall, 70% of Americans think that, ‘Hey, if you’re here illegally already, you should at least give them a path to citizenship’,” said Scott Tranter, an adviser for Decision Desk HQ, which conducted the research on behalf of NewsNation.