Thousands Of Migrants Surge Across U.S. Border At Yuma, State Officials Working On Plan

border surge

Various state officials and lawmakers were in Yuma over the last few days, seeing for themselves the beginning of what ground and air intelligence has predicted for weeks is a surge of several thousand migrants headed to Arizona.

Yet despite warnings first publicized last month, state officials appeared to have no formal contingency plan in place Monday to help deal with what Gov. Doug Ducey acknowledged is “an escalating humanitarian and border crisis” which is overwhelming local law and federal enforcement professionals.

The result was an exhausted and frustrated Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot and other county and officials who are trying to ensure the uncontrolled border crossers do not outpace local resources. An estimated 5,000 undocumented immigrants have entered Arizona in the last two days, according to one report.

When asked by Arizona Daily Independent on Monday night to describe the situation in Yuma, Sheriff Wilmot responded simply “Cluster.” At the time, he was interacting with a group of 150 undocumented immigrants out of about 1,300 identified by CBP throughout the day.

Ducey tweeted Monday afternoon that he has asked Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Heston Silbert, Maj. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck of the Arizona National Guard, and Director Timothy Roemer of Arizona Homeland Security to come up with a clear and effective plan to ensure state officials are doing “everything in our authority to address the serious crisis in Yuma & protect Arizonans.”

Yet while Ducey was using Twitter to call out President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for their “poor communication, lack of organization and complete disregard for border protection,” others in Yuma questioned why additional DPS or National Guard personnel were not already in the area to reassure residents.

A statement issued Monday evening by the Yuma Sector of U.S. Customs and Border Protection noted that federal authorities are “working expeditiously to screen and process” all border crossers they encountered. In the meantime, local non-governmental organizations are providing basic needs for those waiting to be taken into custody.

“Unscrupulous smugglers continue to exploit vulnerable migrants,” the statement read. “CBP’s message is clear: Our borders are not open. People should not make the dangerous journey.”

Surveys show a majority of Arizonans agree with Ducey’s tweeted sentiment that “the Biden administration won’t step up” to fulfill its Constitutional responsibility to protect Americans from the public safety and public health dangers created by an uncontrolled border.

The dire situation even prompted the Western Sheriffs’ Association to recently issue a letter to the White House expressing “no confidence” in the ability of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to safeguard America’s southwest border.

As with all things related to the border in 2021, the President never responded to the letter.

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