SOMERTON, Arizona (Border Report) – Fernando Quiroz and his group of volunteers from the Arizona-California Humanitarian Coalition have noticed that fewer migrants have been entering the US near Yuma, Arizona, in recent weeks.
This is an area where 300 to 500 asylum seekers traditionally cross the border at night.
It’s also where former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey put hundreds of shipping containers without federal government approval to close gaps along a border barrier to prevent a flood of migrants back in August.
Since Ducey stepped down, his successor agreed to remove the containers. They were all removed from this part of southwestern Arizona.
“The containers were pointless and useless,” Kyros said. “It cost Arizona taxpayers nearly $170 million.”
Quiros cited the total cost of all the containers installed at the Arizona-Mexico border, some of which are still in the process of being dismantled.
“It was a waste of money,” he said.
He noted that, ironically, now that the containers are gone, the number of migrants has actually decreased.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection data show that in November, according to the latest available statistics, 27,751 migrants were detained in the Yuma sector, slightly more than was recorded in October.
The city of Yuma last month upheld a state of emergency due to the unprecedented number of migrants arriving in the area. In addition, Yuma County declared a state of emergency in the county to draw attention to and prepare for the migrant situation, and the city of San Luis also issued a state of emergency declaration due to the humanitarian and health crisis resulting from the mass gathering of migrants in US-Mexican border.
In the days leading up to December 21, when Section 42 was due to expire, the city of Yuma reported that more than 1,000 migrants crossed the border daily in the region. Many of these migrants are being transported by Department of Homeland Security buses to San Diego and Tucson or being flown to other DHS facilities, city officials said.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court is upholding Section 42—a public health ruling that allows border agents to remove migrants to prevent the cross-border spread of COVID-19—possibly until June.
Kyros told Border Report that they have definitely noticed a decrease in the number of people seeking their attention at the border.
“The numbers have gone down a bit, it’s the holidays and dignitaries, senators are coming to the area and Mexico is holding people back now so the numbers are not visible,” Quiroz said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have seen their numbers drop in the last five to six days, allowing our shelters to recover and get more supplies to make sure they’re ready for the next influx of people.”
Quiros is confident that with or without containers, more migrants will continue to arrive, especially if they do not open ports of entry for asylum seekers.
“Let them pass through the port of entry, so that everything is correct and humane, don’t ask them to cross rivers to cross deserts, let them come and give up and say: “I am looking for asylum.” “
President Biden recently announced that he would allow asylum seekers access to eight ports of entry along the southern border, including Ped West, the pedestrian crossing between San Diego and Tijuana.
But the dates are not specified.