Is Arizona the new migrant hotspot as Texas beefs up security?

Story by Jorge Ventura •5h

August 7, 2023

Is Arizona the new migrant hotspot as Texas beefs up security?© Provided by News Nation

(NewsNation) — More migrants are entering Arizona due to Texas border enforcement and cartels changing smuggling methods. It’s fueling a dangerous humanitarian crisis in southern Arizona’s hard desert.

Sources confirmed to NewsNation that human smuggling organizations are shifting their strategy and moving migrants to cross into Arizona illegally.

Officials worry about the dangerous terrain and scorching heat in the deserts as illegal border crossings have surged with the Tucson sector seeing nearly 40,000 migrant encounters in July — the highest in a single month in over a decade.

The Tucson sector, labeled the most dangerous area to enter the U.S., raises alarms as agents daily rescue migrants abandoned by smugglers left to trek miles without water.

Officials admit they don’t have the adequate infrastructure to handle the rise in illegal crossings in the area, which is known for people evading Border Patrol agents rather than giving themselves up.

Contrary to trends, Arizona has witnessed an increase in crossing during the hot summer months.

Related video: ‘Scared for my life’: Border rancher fears migrants crossing her ranch unchecked (FOX News)

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Despite scorching temperatures, the Tucson sector has witnessed more than 1,300 daily crossings in July.

In Ajo, migrants were forced to endure 100-degree heat in fenced-off areas outdoors after turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents. In this area, agents have limited custody for 15 hours before transferring migrants to better-equipped facilities.

Officials are calling for additional resources for personnel and transportation to assist agents in Arizona’s remote crossing zones.

Sources informed NewsNation that the shift in smuggling tactics to Arizona is a response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lonestar and the presence of the Texas Department of Public Safety on the border to deter and block migrants.

Texas also placed other deterrent measures like a floating barrier in Eagle Pass to prevent migrants from swimming across the Rio Grande.

Texas DPS has also blocked areas along the border with razor wire and large containers and arrested migrants, charging them with criminal trespass.

In addition to the migrant surge, Arizona faces a massive influx of fentanyl, primarily smuggled by Mexican cartels into the U.S., with officials reporting that the majority of U.S.-bound fentanyl enters through Arizona.