EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Several hundred migrants have entered the U.S. illegally in the past day in Yuma, Ariz., overwhelming law enforcement capacity in the region, local news reports say.
More than 1,500 migrants came across from Sonora, Mexico, on Monday and other groups were spotted near Morelos Dam across the border, the Yuma Sun reported.
The Yuma County Sheriff’s office has been fielding 911 calls since Sunday from migrants requesting water and to be picked up; one Border Patrol official told the newspaper the agency is trying to pick up every migrant but “there just aren’t enough agents.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday said he’s meeting with Border Patrol officials to craft a strategy to deal with the latest immigration crisis on the border. He said he would deploy tactical resources and National Guard troops to areas where the Border Patrol needs more help.
The resources include personnel, cars, trucks, all-terrain vehicles and a helicopter.
The surge coincides with the re-implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” in some parts of the border. The Trump-era program processed asylum-seekers at ports of entry and sent them back to Mexico until they were called up for their court hearings in the U.S.
President Joe Biden ended the practice upon taking office and opened the border in February to thousands who had been sent back.
On Monday, Biden restarted MPP under a federal court mandate but U.S. border authorities apparently did not allow asylum-seekers to present themselves at ports of entry. Since then, small groups in the El Paso area and now several hundred in Arizona are crossing the border illegally to state their claims.
“Yuma is facing an escalating humanitarian and border crisis — and it’s a direct result of the Biden administration’s poor communication, lack of organization and complete disregard for border protection,” Ducey tweeted.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, on Tuesday told Border Report the situation in Yuma threatens to escalate to levels previously seen in Del Rio and McAllen, Texas.
He blamed the Mexican cartels for the sudden escalation in migrant traffic.
“Right now, across the border, we’re seeing upticks in illegal immigration. Yuma, specifically, is getting hit very, very hard,” he said. “One of the reasons is the resources that are just south of the border. The other is the cartels are now moving people to different areas of the border.”
Judd said it’s clear that Yuma has become a target because in the nearby Tucson Sector the migrants aren’t as numerous and are trying to evade apprehension after crossing the border. In Yuma, large crowds are coming across and just giving up.
“That scares us simply because we know if we have two different corridors where illegal immigration explodes, then we’ll be fighting two different fronts. We want to be able to control one front before we move on to another front, and we’re just losing that battle,” he said.