Donna Texas facility
Families and unaccompanied alien children enter temporary processing facilities in Donna, Texas, on March 17, 2021. Photo by Jaime Rodriguez Sr. / U.S. Customs and Border Protection

While officials in nearby Gila Bend are dealing with immigrants being dropped off by Customs and Border Protection, Maricopa officials are confident the current crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border will not visit their city.

Mayor Christian Price and City Manager Rick Horst would not comment on the situation in Gila Bend, but neither believes the issue will come to Maricopa, which is about 42 miles east of the small town in Maricopa County via State Route 238.

“I can’t speak to the issue in Gila Bend as I do not know their particular situation or facts,” Horst said. “I do not wish to speculate. We do not anticipate any immigrants to be dropped in our city.”

Horst said the city has had daily communication with U.S. Border Patrol, not just on this immigration but all matters, for years.

“The City of Maricopa does not have the services to provide for the needs of immigrants,” he said. “It is my understanding that the governor has, or is considering, a state of emergency to ask for federal resources to support the growing demand, not only at the border, but to replenish resources where needed.”

Price shared Horst’s belief that the surge at the border would not directly impact Maricopa.

“As for us, while we are close to Gila Bend, we have not been affected by the recent events there, nor do we anticipate it,” Price said.

Most of the services the migrants would need – hospitals, shelters, meals and federal assistance – would not be found in Maricopa, he said.

“So, it would stand to reason, that most of them would most likely travel up (State Route) 85 directly into west Phoenix to try and access those services there.”

Chris Riggs, the mayor of Gila Bend, recently told Fox News that he was forced to declare a state of emergency after federal and local officials ignored his repeated requests for assistance. Gila Bend, a town with less than 2,000 residents and few social services, has for some reason become a dropping point.

“We do not have the resources to handle all of these people being dropped on us by Border Patrol,” Riggs told Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto.

“We need help. I have requested multiple times for information for assistance. I’m not getting it,” Riggs added. “So, the only other alternative I have is to declare an emergency and really try to force people’s hands to provide me with the resources that I need for what the federal government is doing to us.”


Price said Maricopa officials are closely monitoring the situation at the border and in Gila Bend.

“We are in constant, even daily communication with the Border Patrol and have been for years,” he said “So, anything surprising would be just that – surprising, as we speak and work with them daily.”

He said it was his understanding that Gov. Doug Ducey is considering a state of emergency to ask the federal government for resources to address the situation.

In the unlikely event that migrants were dropped off in or made their way to Maricopa, Price said the city could do what Riggs is doing in Gila Bend – an emergency declaration to free up access to needed short-term emergency funds. He also said the city would “most certainly use that (state of emergency) to seek redress from our federal relief agencies already funded by our tax dollars to deal with situations just like these.”

In Gila Bend, Riggs and his wife ended up borrowing two vans because the town’s insurance carrier wouldn’t permit them to transport migrants in municipal vehicles. The Riggses and two other volunteers drove them to the welcome center in Phoenix for resources.

When Cavuto asked what the future might hold for migrants making their way into U.S. communities, Riggs said he fears that “they’re here to stay.”

According to media reports, the border town of San Luis in Yuma County also experienced an influx of migrants.

Price said he can’t see the immigrant drop-offs will continue very long, let alone in Maricopa.

“With the feds getting so much negative publicity on this, I doubt it will continue,” he said. “And I would say our odds are pretty good, when, there are still 88 other cities to get to hopefully before they get to ours.”