For a Week, ABC, NBC Ignore Yuma’s Migration-Caused State of Emergency

Last Tuesday, April 16, the mayor of Yuma, Arizona declared a state of emergency as a result of the massive increase in illegal immigrants straining their resources. In the week since the declaration, Monday’s CBS Evening News was the only morning or evening broadcast network news program to mention it at all.

“The mayor of Yuma, Arizona, has declared a state of emergency, as the city on the border, struggles to handle a flood of migrants. Yuma is now asking for state and federal help,” announced anchor Jeff Glor.

CBS correspondent Janet Shamlian was in Yuma to document the problem:

SHAMLIAN: It's the front line in Arizona's border battle, and it didn't take long to see it ourselves. What you're looking at is what happens multiple times a day here on the Arizona border. You see a group of people, maybe six or eight of them, being apprehended by border agents. Is this just for today?

JUSTIN KALLINGER (Border Patrol agent): No. We've been averaging now, for the last week, were to over 300 a day.

 

 

“More than 24,000 families crossed in the Yuma sector by between October of last year and this March, up 273 percent from the same period a year earlier,” she added. “Immigrants can get stuck in Yuma for days because they can't get a bus ticket out to meet their sponsor families.”

According to a CNN report from last Wednesday, the morning after the declaration was announced, Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls (R) stated: “There's an imminent threat of having too many migrant releases into our community, and it's above our capacity as a community to sustain.”

CNN also noted that, “Despite the dire language in the proclamation, Nicholls told CNN affiliate KYMA he doesn't believe the migrants are a danger to the community. The goal, he says, is to get more resources to Yuma to help manage the situation.”

Instead of reporting on Yuma’s plight, Monday’s NBC Nightly News was more concerned with a case against a citizen group allegedly detaining illegal immigrants unlawfully.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CBS Evening News
April 22, 2019
6:42:20 p.m. Eastern

JEFF GLOR: The mayor of Yuma, Arizona, has declared a state of emergency, as the city on the border struggles to handle a flood of migrants. Yuma is now asking for state and federal help. Janet Shamlian takes us inside the crisis tonight.

[Cuts to video]

JANET SHAMLIAN: It's the front line in Arizona's border battle, and it didn't take long to see it ourselves. What you're looking at is what happens multiple times a day here on the Arizona border. You see a group of people, maybe six or eight of them, being apprehended by border agents.

Is this just for today?

JUSTIN KALLINGER (Border Patrol agent): No. We've been averaging now, for the last week, were to over 300 a day.

SHAMLIAN: Border agents gather names and offer water before taking them to detention centers. 72 hours later, the migrants, mostly families from Central America, are released into Yuma, a city of 100,000 with just one shelter, a converted Salvation Army thrift store with 200 beds.

How many spent the night here last night?

JEFF BREAZEALE (Yuma Country Coordinator, the Salvation Army): Last night we had 233.

SHAMLIAN: So you're taking them all?

BREAZEALE: Just as many as we possibly can.

SHAMLIAN: Yuma's mayor has declared state of emergency, asking for state and federal funds.

MAYOR DOUG NICHOLLS: It's like if a hurricane is coming and you don't prepare for it, this is the same kind of thing.

SHAMLIAN: More than 24,000 families crossed in the Yuma sector by between October of last year and this March, up 273 percent from the same period a year earlier. Immigrants can get stuck in Yuma for days because they can't get a bus ticket out to meet their sponsor families.

This is one of the few Greyhound buses that comes through Yuma each day. If there were more, they could move the migrants out of this community quicker. There would be less of a burden on the city. Despite challenges, the city is full of heart. Ruth Velasquez gives away warm clothes at the bus stop.

RUTH VELASQUEZ: I have everything I need, but these people don't.

SHAMLIAN: Apprehensions at the southern border are at a 12-year high. Last month, almost 9,000 of those detained were unaccompanied children.

KALLINGER: What I think people don't understand about this crisis, it's just the word it's, it's a crisis. It's not in their community yet, but it could be.

SHAMLIAN: Asylum seekers overwhelming a border town with little relief on the horizon. Janet Shamlian, CBS News, Yuma Arizona.

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