U.S. Customs and Border Protection released footage taken by a drone of roughly 60 miles of a new border wall consisting of an 18-foot steel bollard barrier. The section of the wall that was revealed is in the Yuma, Arizona sector.
The southern border already has 654 miles of barriers, comprising roughly one third of the length of the southern border. The Daily Mail notes that the Trump administration “has awarded $2.8 billion in contracts for barriers covering 247 miles, with all but 17 miles of that to replace existing barriers instead of expanding coverage … Crews plan on installing 30-foot steel fencing to replace older barriers on two miles in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, next to the official border crossing known as the Lukeville Port of Entry.”
In April, Douglas Nicholls, the mayor of Yuma, signed a proclamation of emergency because of the massive numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border. He sought aid from state and federal authorities, writing, “It is something that we need to do to make sure that our community is maintained and that the human rights of all the migrants are maintained and that we have a path forward that respects both. We are looking for a FEMA-type response. This is not a natural disaster, but it is a disaster either way. Their resources could come in and take care of the situation,” as The New York Times reported. Nicholls concluded, “This has moved faster than I believe anyone had predicted. The solution rests at the federal level.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Nicholls also stated, “I had to do something to change the discussion and to change the posture, to get more resources or get the situation resolved in one manner or another.” The Journal added, “Along with its one shelter, Yuma has just a few small bus stops with a handful of departures each day. As a result, it can’t absorb migrant families as they wait to travel to destinations elsewhere in the country as easily as bigger border cities like El Paso and San Diego.” Nicholls commented, “They’re larger communities that can absorb a lot more people into their nonprofit network.”
Capt. Jeffrey Breazeale, the Yuma County coordinator for the Salvation Army, added, “With the amount of people arriving, this is very quickly escalating to the point we won’t be able to handle it. It’s a southern border crisis, and we are seeking help from the federal government. The only way we know how to do that is declare an emergency.”
On April 4, ABC 15 Arizona reported, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of Arizona says it has apprehended nearly 1,000 migrants in the past three days at the Yuma Sector of the U.S./Mexico border. The migrants are believed to be from Central America, according to CBP.” CBP issued a press release stating, “Yuma Sector has experienced a significant rise in the number of family units arrested throughout the sector. U.S. Border Patrol processing centers are not designed to house the current numbers of families and small children that we are encountering.”