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Agents seeing surge of migrants crossing Yuma border

Posted at 5:49 PM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 21:46:11-05

Border patrol agents from the Yuma sector are dealing with a big surge of migrants coming across the border.

Operations officer Justin Kallinger says while the increase has been steady all year, agents have arrested about 1,000 illegal immigrants just in the last two weeks.

Most of the people they are seeing are part of family units, but they are also seeing an increase in unaccompanied juveniles, some between the ages of 14-15.

Agent Kallinger said what they were dealing with here is more complex.

"It's more of a humanitarian situation. Whereas they were running from us before now they are running to us to seek asylum with a credible fear situation," said Kallinger.

Border patrol agents released video showing migrants climbing fences, cutting through razor wire, also digging holes under the fence to crawl through to the United States.

"Our infrastructure is outdated in certain parts. They can over, go under, and at some points even through the Constantine wire," said Kallinger.

The migrants they arrested in Yuma were not part of the large migrant caravan. Agents in Yuma have the support of the U.S. National Guard, but no military troops have been deployed to that area at this time.

Agents said resources were stretched thin; they were doing the best they can,

"We are part of this wonderful community, and as long as we're here, it's 24-7, 365, seven days a week. We do put people first, humans first. We get it. We make sure our agents are safe that is why we train them the way we do, then we make sure we give them everything they need," added Kallinger.

Agents in Yuma did see instances of migrants throwing rocks or assaulting them at times.  

Statistics show apprehensions in Yuma have increased by 150 percent since this time last year.