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Nogales not seeing asylum-seeker dropoffs

Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 10:26 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Two sister cities that are divided by an international boundary are inhabited by families who are forced to miss their loved ones.

Maria is a U.S. citizen and a resident of Nogales, Arizona. Her 17-year-old son is living in Nogales, Sonora.

“I want him to cross, but I want him to do it the right way,” she said.

Maria says that seeing images of migrant children crossing the southwest border alone is horrifying. And she fears that that could be her son.

“He has told me that he would have crossed already, but I tell him to wait. That our time is coming. I also don’t want him to be dropped off in random place like were seeing them do,” Maria said.

Maria is referring to asylum-seekers being dropped off by the bus loads in other border cities across the state of Arizona, like Yuma or Gila Bend - a situation that has not started in Nogales.

However, Mayor Arturo Garino said that Border Patrol officials were going to start doing so a few weeks back.

“They were going to release some migrants last week and then I got a call the following day after that they weren’t going to do it anymore,” said Garino.

The mayor said his city does not have the resources, nor funding, to prepare for large groups of families to be released into the community due to COVID-19.

“The majority of the nonprofit organizations here have not been doing well financially since the start of the pandemic,” he said.

But the mayor says he is aware that if the situation continues and as Arizona’s hot summer months come his city could be seeing a different scenario.

“I don’t think that there is any city in the Arizona that would deny any assistance to help out,” said Garino.

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