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The Open Border in Yuma, Arizona

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

YUMA, Ariz. — 2,647. That was the percentage increase the city of Yuma has experienced with illegal immigrants crossing the Colorado River into the locality since October 1. This resulted in Border Patrol being so overwhelmed that the large groups of people waited up to eight hours to be picked up, with almost no one watching them as people gave up and headed into town to try to find the Border Patrol station nine miles away.

Jonathan Lines, a Yuma County Supervisor for District 2, has driven along the U.S.-Mexico border to coordinate supply runs for the groups of illegal immigrants waiting for transport, which often includes pregnant women and very young children.

"First and foremost, we have a humanitarian crisis at the border...We want to make sure, first and foremost, nothing happens to these people as they arrive here. We've had multiple reports of people being accosted at gunpoint by the coyotes, demanding more money, stealing the food," Lines said. 

Lines added the city reached out to Senators Mark Kelly (D) and Kyrsten Sinema (D), including that Thursday morning, so they can tour the border area to witness the crisis firsthand, but they had not accepted the invitation.

"We'd love for President Biden and Kamala Harris to come and see the suffering that we see. We have multiple children crossing without parents, as young as three-years-old, that's tragic and we're concerned about their safety," Lines explained.

When a group of around 100 illegal immigrants walked into the city, a man in a pickup truck asked me and the two other journalists I was with if we had seen them. When we told him we had, the man shook his head and said he was concerned with how brazen illegal immigration has become.

"I'm worried because I have daughters," he said before driving away.

All of this resulted in Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls (R) declaring a local state of emergency:

"Migrants are traveling through Yuma during a time of great uncertainty about the COVID-19 virus, and without provisions for adequate food, water, shelter, transportation and medical care. This surge of migrants has and will continue to strain the ability of medical staff and local hospital resources to provide essential and necessary medical care.

"Mayor Nicholls proclaimed a local emergency today to address the humanitarian crisis affecting the Yuma community and to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents. Federal and state resources are needed to address the current humanitarian crisis. This act makes the City eligible to receive state and federal funding for aid, relief, and assistance to mitigate the crisis.

'The change in the movement of migrants greatly impacts the Yuma community,' Nicholls said. He explained that federal resources must increase to meet this new level."

Since then, Nicholls said the problem has eased a little bit since state and federal officials sent extra officers to the Yuma Sector. Nicholls' and Lines' comments were in line with what I was being told by Border Patrol sources. For more than a week, there were zero agents engaging in patrolling duties, meaning the border was wide open to anyone who did not want to be caught. For hours, I was often by myself with the groups of people who just crossed into the United States and I could not help but wonder who else was crossing without being seen.

Similar to my trip in October, I encountered people from Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. What was different this time is the six men from India I encountered, who claimed they did not have their passports, money, or other forms of I.D. because the coyote robbed them after they crossed into Arizona.

The surge the Del Rio Sector experienced in September was terrible due to the large number of people stuck outside in the southern heat, but the Yuma Sector's recent surge shows how little it takes to make the country vulnerable, and with Joe Biden in office, I do not see it ending anytime soon. 


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