/ Modified aug 19, 2021 5:19 p.m.

Border apprehensions, drought impacts, COVID vaccine demand

Lorraine Rivera sits down with Gov. Ducey to discuss his criticisms of President Biden's border policies and vaccine distribution.

The Southern border is in the national spotlight again. An uptick in apprehensions is fueling partisan accusations that President Biden's rollback of the Trump administration policies has created a crisis. The border in Douglas recently served as the backdrop for Gov. Doug Ducey's rebuke of Biden’s policies. He later sat down with Lorraine Rivera this week in Tucson to discuss the response he would like to see from the federal government.

This week Pima County supervisors authorized the county transport asylum seekers released near the border to Casa Alitas in Tucson. The county said groups are being released in places like Ajo that lack the resources to provide basic services. The latest releases of migrant groups have put new strains on smaller communities. For analysis, we turned to Arizona Republic immigration reporter Rafael Carranza.

Migrants admitted into the U.S. will eventually have their cases heard in court. The process can take years because of a growing backlog that now exceeds 1.2 million cases, according to data collected by Syracuse University. We discussed some of the reasons for this as well as potential remedies with Amiena Khan. Khan serves as union president for the National Association of Immigration Judges.

Some much-needed rain fell across parts of southern Arizona this week, offering a small amount of respite to a region experiencing drought conditions categorized as extreme or exceptional. Tony Paniagua visited two mountain ranges to see firsthand how drought is impacting the land and those who call it home.

Arizonans 16 and up became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the state’s pods, including its site at the University of Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey visited the campus to commemorate the milestone. He discussed with Lorraine Rivera how the state’s vaccination efforts got to this point. Their conversation took place one day before his office announced that it would peel back more COVID-19 restrictions, including phasing out local mask mandates.

Pima County supervisors voted unanimously this week on a resolution requesting Gov. Ducey reconsider his decision to deny FEMA permission to operate vaccination sites in the county. County leaders hope to have 75% of its residents fully vaccinated by August, achieving so-called herd immunity, and they say the FEMA sites would help them reach that goal sooner. Tony Paniagua spoke to the county’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia about the current supply and demand.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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