By Luzdelia Caballero
Arizona’s two senators went to Yuma and got a tour of the border Tuesday.
As they wrapped up, they facilitated a discussion with leaders from all over the country.
The focus of the discussion was the impact of this crisis on border communities and community leaders now say they are now left paying the price.
“For years the federal government has failed to secure the border,” said Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema opened up the discussion with country leaders, alongside Senator Mark Kelly.
“We cannot continue to shoulder the burden of the federal government’s failure at our border,” Senator Sinema stated.
Adding more work needs to be done to help with the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We can secure the border, treat migrants fairly, and strengthen our border communities and economies. We just gotta put the partisanship aside, listen to local communities and work together to do it,” said Senator Sinema.
Senator Mark Kelly agrees.
“Fortunately today, we’ve got a group that has educated themselves on this issue and also wants to do something about it,” added Senator Kelly.
Among those present, expressing their concerns is Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls.
He says the effects of nearly 1,000 migrants crossing over the border to Yuma daily is taking a toll on the city.
“Our hospital has experienced a dramatic increase not just in traffic, but in cost because a lot of those burdens aren’t paid back by the federal government. So, at the end of the day, those costs actually get moved on by the citizens. And those are real dollars. $20M in six months is a lot of money to absorb,” said Mayor Nicholls.
Yuma County Supervisor (District 2) Jonathan Lines tells ABC15 that U.S. Senators Sinema and Kelly have acknowledged this issue and are reimbursing the hospital is a part of the discussion.
Lines also says he’s happy to see all parties present acknowledging issues at the border.
“We had democrat Mayors and other democrats say that after having seen this, this is not sustainable. They see what it has done to the border. They see how it has decimated border patrol and turned them into babysitters rather than being able to focus on national security,” said Lines.
Acknowledging problems is one thing, but specific solutions are still needed.
“Obviously we have a lot more work to do,” said Senator Kelly.
Other leaders, also told ABC15 they’re happy with the new border enforcement program, which helps increase security at the border and reduce the number of individuals crossing unlawfully between ports of entry.