The mayor of Gila Bend, Arizona, told Fox News on Monday he is very concerned about the escalating crisis at the Mexican border as news broke of a potentially large influx of illegal immigrants heading for his community.
Mayor Chris Riggs, an independent, told “Your World” that his town ‒ about halfway between Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico and Phoenix ‒ is essentially being made into a waypoint for illegal immigrants captured by federal authorities.
He told host Charles Payne that Gila Bend is already “very economically depressed” and that it does not have even the basic resources necessary for what he fears could be an expensive unfunded mandate of sorts.
“We can barely afford to take care of the people that we have here and our community now, and as of this second, the Border Patrol advised us that they’re going to drop people off here and do sort of like: ‘They’re your problem’,” said Riggs.
“We just do not have the ability to care for these people. Quite frankly, it’s going to cost us tens of thousands of dollars a year to be able to just to provide them with a bottle of water and a sandwich when they get dropped off.”
Riggs said that other than the notification his town will be a drop-off location for captured illegal immigrants and asylum seekers, the feds are not providing any crucial information, such as coronavirus infection rates of the migrants, the number of migrants Gila Bend can expect to see, or any other basic data.
He told Payne he is therefore very worried for the elderly population in his area.
“I have a lot of seniors and elders here between Gila Bend and San Lucy Village that are susceptible to COVID,” he said, referring to a community just north of his downtown that is populated mostly by members of the Tohono O’odham tribe.
“We have not seen the [coronavirus] outbreak that other areas have seen in Arizona, yet we’re going to get punished for their choices,” he said. “We are completely in the dark. We asked documentation, some kind of documentation. Give us something. We’re still not getting anything. So I mean, we’re really frustrated with how we’re being treated through a crisis that they started.”
Riggs later added that his home abuts the expansive Sonoran Desert National Monument, and that he has seen an uptick in foot traffic through the area that appears to include a sizeable number of persons acting as “drug mules.”
“It needs to stop. The federal government has to step up and do their job. They’re the ones that created this problem, they need to fix it,” he said.
Payne added that, as of late, border crossers have included people from outside the typical Central American countries accounted for, and that Cuban, Brazilian, Romanian and Haitian nationals have been witnessed coming through the border illegally.
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