Arizona Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Kristen Sinema (I-AZ) have asked for answers from three federal agencies after the state received just $23.9 million of more than $800 million in funding they helped secure to fund private organizations that house illegal immigrants released into the United States after being encountered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during their transit across the border.
In a letter addressed to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the heads of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the senators warned that Pima County may be unable to support the influx of migrants in April 2024. They noted that New York City received over four times more funding than Arizona.
Mexican authorities discovered two drug tunnels along the border with the U.S. in recent days, according to Border Report.
The location of the tunnels was in Tijuana, which is just across the border from San Diego, California, according to Border Report. One of the tunnels was still under construction, but 45 feet from the U.S. border.
Arizona’s Yuma Police Department on Sunday said that two men died and five teenage males were injured in a shooting.
No suspects are in custody after the shooting late Saturday evening in a residential block of the border city, police said.
As the shipping containers serving as a makeshift wall in the Morelos Dam area of the Yuma sector of the border came down, the mayor of Yuma said that the federal government is off to a slow start replacing them.
“There’s some areas that the containers went down and there’s no current plan by the feds to put anything up, but the Morelos Dam area is the area that really was causing a lot of problems in the last couple years, and so that was kind of seen as a priority area,” Mayor Douglas Nicholls told The Center Square Thursday.
The federal government will likely start filling in gaps of the border wall in the Yuma sector shortly after Arizona takes down its storage container barriers.
In agreeing to remove the state-erected barrier as part of a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, federal government officials again confirmed to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office that they are moving forward with a plan to replace it.
According to local reports, about 600 illegal aliens crossed into the United States on Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.
“Roughly 600 people crossed in separate groups into Yuma since midnight according to volunteers handing out water,” said reporter Ali Bradley. “When I arrived there were roughly 100 still waiting. This is the gap I’m told will stay open to act as a funnel for Border Patrol to work more efficiently.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order on Friday directing the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to fill the gaps in the Yuma border wall starting immediately.
“Arizona has had enough,” Ducey said in a press release. “We can’t wait any longer. The Biden administration’s lack of urgency on border security is a dereliction of duty. For the last two years, Arizona has made every attempt to work with Washington to address the crisis on our border. Time and time again we’ve stepped in to clean up their mess. Arizonans can’t wait any longer for the federal government to deliver on their delayed promises.”
With the Biden administration’s decision to rescind Title 42 COVID-19 restrictions on the border by May 23, local officials near Arizona’s border with Mexico are bracing for a surge in migrants. The border situation was already dire, with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issuing a legal opinion in February declaring that it had reached the level of an invasion under the U.S. Constitution due to the crime, violence, and drug smuggling.
Republicans and even some Democrat officials in Arizona denounced the move. Both of Arizona’s two U.S. Senators, Democrats Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, condemned the move. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, a Democrat, said she supported the move, but admitted to NPR that it will require federal assistance. “What we are asking the Biden administration is that they have the resources necessary to be able to have these local communities take over, because it costs money to be able to offer a safe place for asylum-seekers to come.”
Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls is speaking up about the recent surge of migrants in the Yuma sector on Arizona’s border with Mexico, explaining why it’s occurring and recommending solutions. He believes there are several factors contributing to the 2,405% increase in migrant apprehensions, and says there are both long-term and short-term ways to resolve the problem.
“The ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy of the Trump administration was ordered put back in place by the courts, but that has not fully happened,” he told The Arizona Sun Times. “In 2019 and 2020, there were 50 to 60 migrants a day being returned under the policy. Now, there are only about 10 a day. With 1,000 coming across the border daily now, that’s only 1%.”
Yuma’s mayor has declared a state of emergency in the city over the border crisis, which has overwhelmed much of the American southwest.
“Well, it’s not surprising because in 2019, if we go back for a little history, we were having a similar surge during the Trump administration and there were policies put in place that mitigated those numbers to nearly… below 10,000 a year,” Mayor Douglas Nicholls said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
A Saudi Arabian man described by a U.S. Border Patrol chief as a “potential terrorist” was apprehended attempting to enter the U.S. illegally near Yuma, Arizona. He was apprehended wearing a New York county ambulance jacket.
Yuma Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Chris Clem announced the apprehension on Twitter with an accompanying blurred photo of the man.
“Yuma Sector agents apprehended a potential terrorist who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico Thursday night,” Clem wrote. “The 21-year-old migrant from Saudi Arabia is linked to several Yemeni subjects of interest.”
Yuma, Arizona, Mayor Douglas Nicholls declared a city state of emergency last week due to the numbers of migrants entering the city.
Yuma has been seeing “unprecedented numbers of migrants entering the city prior to being processed and released by Border Patrol,” according to a press release.
The city has less than 100,000 residents, but in five days last week, more than 6,000 illegal migrants traveled from Mexico through the Yuma area into the United States.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sent the Arizona National Guard and law enforcement officers to the Arizona border with Mexico near Yuma to address a surge in border crossings, which Arizona Rep. Tim Dunn (R-Yuma) has called for and believes will help combat the drug cartels, but not the number of migrants crossing due to the Biden administration’s policies.
Dunn told The Arizona Sun Times that although only the federal government is allowed by law to deal with the migrants, Arizona troops and law enforcement officers can perform other tasks for the Border Patrol, freeing them up to handle the influx of migrants. He said the migrants “do want to be checked in to the Border Patrol. The last leg of their trip is to get a free ride to another part of the country — the Border Patrol is performing an Uber function.”
Thousands of migrants are attempting to cross the U.S. Southern border in Yuma, Arizona, according to multiple reports.
Many of the individuals are claiming to seek asylum, as the “Remain in Mexico” policy formed under the Trump administration resumes operation.
Border Patrol agents in the Yuma Sector on Wednesday apprehended drugs and $10,000 in cash from a suspect who attempted to escape law enforcement.
Giang Van Thi Slaughter, who is a Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident (LAPR), refused to pull over when agents initiated a traffic stop.
Border Patrol agents encountered 129.7% more people at the southern border this year than last, according to new data published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The greatest number of encounters was in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and the greatest percentage increase was in Yuma, Arizona.
Illegal border crossings have skyrocketed since President Joe Biden took office in January.
While much of the world watched roughly 15,000 Haitians illegally cross the Rio Grande River from Mexico into Del Rio, Texas, last month, an area near Yuma, Arizona, has become the Grand Canyon State’s Del Rio equivalent.
Known as “The Gap,” a well-known break in the border fence near the Morelos Dam is where migrants illegally cross the border into Arizona – walking across the Colorado River from the Mexican border town of Los Algodones.
In August, 17,000 people illegally crossed into the Yuma Sector. That’s compared to 694 in August 2020, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data, an increase of more than 2,300%.
A significant group of Arizona Republican legislators is calling upon Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a state of emergency over the crisis on the border between Arizona and Mexico. The 24 senators and representatives sent the letter to Ducey on Tuesday.
Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu), the Majority Whip, told The Arizona Sun Times, “I think all of America can agree that our southern border is a complete disaster. As this Biden-Harris administration continues to ignore our calls for help, thousands of illegal immigrants are pouring into our state daily. This administration is signaling to the world that we have an open border. Myself, along with my Republican colleagues at the Arizona Legislature, will not tolerate this lawlessness anymore. We are a land of law and order. But when the federal government fails at their duty to protect our border, it is up to us to uphold our oath to the constitution and do whatever it takes to help stop this invasion.”