Yuma Border Sector Sees 800 Percent Jump in Migrant Encounters

by RANDY CLARK 22 Jun 2021

On Monday, Border Patrol agents arrested a group of 86 migrants crossing the desert near Yuma, Arizona. Normally, Yuma is known for a relatively calm border.

Since Friday, the sector has seen four large groups totaling 300 migrants. The groups risk their lives at the hands of human smugglers who ignore the sizzling summers. On Friday, the temperature reached 117 degrees. Since January, agents have apprehended 97 groups of migrants numbering 50 or more.

In Fiscal Year 2020, the Yuma Sector was ranked near the bottom for migrant apprehension volume. It was second-to-last before the Big Bend Sector in Texas. In 2020, agents in Yuma arrested 5,647 migrants. This year, the number climbed nearly 800 percent to 47,358, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Despite significant investments in border infrastructure and technology in the sector, the migrants tend to face lacking consequences for illegal crossings. The recent cancellation of Trump era immigration policies which resulted in certain removal for migrants means Yuma cannot escape the current border crisis in 2021.

There are more than 38 miles of primary border fencing, 8 miles of secondary fencing, and an additional layer of 8 miles of tertiary fencing surrounding Yuma. Nearly 12 miles of all-weather roads were constructed to allow for easier patrol access. Most of the infrastructure was added under the Bush administration in 2005. The enhancements reduced illegal border crossings from nearly 140,000 in 2005 to 37,000, two years later.

As Border Patrol deals with the current surge of unaccompanied migrant children and family units surrendering daily, many others are now willing to ignore the dangers of isolated deserts.