The Yuma Sector saw one of the largest increases in interactions at the border, leading to an eventful past year for local Border Patrol
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) – This past year has seen immigrants from all over make their way to the U.S. However, for the Yuma Sector of the border, they have seen an increase in numbers that far exceeds any others.
In fiscal year 2021, which goes from October 2020 to September 2021, the Yuma Sector dealt with 114,000 encounters at the border, that number coming from U.S Customs And Border Protection.
Compared to fiscal year 2020, that’s a near 2,400% increase which far exceeds increased rates from the other nine sectors along the border. Following another group crossing back in December, Yuma County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony Reyes mentioned just how difficult the increase has been locally.
“We’re dealing the best we can to deal with it. The numbers are quite large and the needs are quite different. We do need to, in some ways, increase our processing capacity is basically what it boils down to,” Reyes shared. “This is still a federal program, the fact that it impacts the local community is because again the sheer numbers are just difficult to manage.”
Border Patrol agents like supervisor Vincent Dulesky have been on the front lines dealing with the issue. Dulesky explained back in November just how much he’d see in a day.
“When you’re getting 850 to 1,000 a day it becomes a logistical task,” Dulesky said.
Eventually the numbers would become too overwhelming. On December 9, Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls proclaimed a state of emergency for the city, as over 6,000 immigrants had made their way into the city in the week prior.
County Supervisor Jonathan Lines reacted soon after the proclamation. He believes the move was needed, as Border Patrol was reaching its breaking point.
“It overwhelmed the ability of federal law enforcement to process these people and to be able to get them out of Yuma,” Lines said.
Since then, numbers have gotten a bit more manageable due to the state of emergency deploying more resources to local agents.