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KAWC/KOFA Open House TODAY 11-2

Congressman wants more information about immigrant care impact on Yuma Regional Medical Center

YRMC/ Sturgis

YUMA, Ariz. (KAWC) - Congressman Raúl Grijalva says he’d like to learn more about the pressure immigrant care is putting on Yuma Regional Medical Center.

Grijalva spoke to KAWC Tuesday about a recent Fox News article reporting the hospital was on the “brink of collapse” due to undocumented immigrants.

During an interview on Fox and Friends, YRMC President, Dr. Robert Trenschel said the hospital had provided more than $20 million dollars in care to asylum seekers in just the past six months.

That prompted Congressman Paul Gosar, a Republican who represents northern Yuma County, to call for sealing the border and expelling all undocumented immigrants.

Representative Grijalva, a Democrat who represents southern Yuma County, told us he’d like to learn more about that figure.

“I would like to see that verified, and if it's true then that something has to be done to relieve that, but I would like to see you know 23 million in in in six months. I think verification on that question is a very important point.”

Just weeks before, another Fox News article reported the city of Yuma was also near collapse.

However, recent statistics from US Customs and Border Protection actually show a precipitous drop in illegal crossings since the start of the year.

Last week Yuma Sector Border Patrol reported around 2,300 arrests. That’s down from nearly 8,000 a week during the month of December.

The decline is largely attributed to the continuation of Title 42, and new policies blocking asylum claims from immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Still, the Congressman says he recognizes the pressure the continued influx of immigrants puts on southern Yuma County communities.

“No doubt there is considerable stress, considerable stress in communities like Somerton San Luis who are on the frontline of dealing with with any surge that occurs around people coming on asylum and refugees.”

He tells us he believes the problems will stop when meaningful immigration reform begins.

“This pressure requires humanitarian support, resources for community, but it also requires making investments, that was an earlier question, in home countries so that process does not require this surge coming to the border – that people are able to process and make their solicitation on credible fear in their home countries.”

The Congressman says all it would take is a willingness on the part of the GOP to start discussing real issues.

“Everything wrong that's going on in the country is related to what is going on in the border. No real discussion of any policy changes. No real discussion about how we accelerate the investments that we need to make in the Borderlands, particularly in our ports of entry, and no real discussion about legislative efforts to begin to deal with the Dreamers, the DACA students, or with workforce issues around seasonal workers.”

For his part, he says he’s ready to get down to business.

“I would certainly want to work with whatever colleague on the Republican side is willing to discuss the very real issues that are going on along the border,” Grijalva tells us.

“You know, I'm about getting some stuff done, and I think the president is. About getting stuff done. And what we're seeing more and more is just how do we score political points? And on the issue of immigration, the border and the border lands, it becomes expendable,” he goes on to share.

Grijalva says, in the meantime, rhetoric is not helpful to the people who live along the border.

“And to continue to exaggerate and in many instances lie about the situation at the border, which is stressful, which is demanding, which is critical, I don't deny that, but to make it seem as though we're on imminent collapse and that it is out of control and lawless, is doing, I think, a disservice to the local community and certainly changes the discussion entirely on what we need to do in the future.”