Border city of Yuma is on the brink of collapse under ‘unprecedented’ migrant surge


The border city of Yuma, Arizona, is at breaking point with the unprecedented flow of migrants leaving the community at the brink of collapse and hospitals and food banks overloaded.

Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines slammed the Biden administration for its handling of the border crisis and said his county will crumble as it can’t support the cascading flow of migrants.

Officials say some 5million migrants have crossed over the US southern border since January 2021 when the Biden administration took over the White House.

After Yuma County’s Border Patrol saw a 171% increase in migrant crossings between 2021 and 2022, Mr Lines has warned that the situation will only get worse.

Large numbers of migrants continue to cross into the United States at the Yuma, Arizona southern border

Migrants wait to be processed after crossing the border Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, near Yuma, Arizona

Migrants wait to be processed after crossing the border Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, near Yuma, Arizona

Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines (pictured at the county's border) slammed the Biden administration for its handing of the border crisis

Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines (pictured at the county’s border) slammed the Biden administration for its handing of the border crisis

'They're coming because they said that Biden told them to come,' Mr Lines said. Pictured: President Biden in the White House, Washington, January 20, 2023

‘They’re coming because they said that Biden told them to come,’ Mr Lines said. Pictured: President Biden in the White House, Washington, January 20, 2023

Mr Lines told Fox News: ‘Policies need to be changed when you see an unprecedented amount of people coming across the border that even supersedes what we saw under any of the other presidents for the past 30 years.’

He called the surging increase in crossings ‘ridiculous’.

‘They’re coming because they said that Biden told them to come, that we have an open border.’

Yuma is known as the ‘sunniest city on Earth’, but over recent years it has become known as the US’ hotspot for migrant crossings that has stretched its Border Control to the limit.

Facilities along the border are being pushed to breaking point due to the increasing migrant flow, with residents reportedly unable to access the only hospital in the city.

The number of migrants crossing over the US southern border since January 2021 when the Biden administration took over the White House has surged

The number of migrants crossing over the US southern border since January 2021 when the Biden administration took over the White House has surged

The unprecedented flow of migrants as left Yuma at the brink of collapse and hospitals and food banks overloaded. Pictured: Migrants serve food donated by a resident at the southern border, December 21, 2022

The unprecedented flow of migrants as left Yuma at the brink of collapse and hospitals and food banks overloaded. Pictured: Migrants serve food donated by a resident at the southern border, December 21, 2022

Large numbers of migrants continue to cross into the United States through Yuma, December 27, 2022

Large numbers of migrants continue to cross into the United States through Yuma, December 27, 2022

Migrants are coming from Central America in hope of a better life for them and their families, but locals and critics of the current immigration policy view the current numbers as unsustainable.

Most of the migrants are drawn to the area by the relative ease of crossing the border, officials say. According to Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls, there are 50 breaks in the border wall along the 126-mile Yuma sector, including the infamous ‘Gap’.

Huge container-sized gaps in the 30ft border wall allow migrants to walk right through, aided by a thinly-spread Border Patrol. However, construction is currently underway to fill some of the gaps.

To add to the surge, Fox News reported that their sources confirmed 1.2million illegal migrants had escaped the Border Patrol force since January 2021.

Border counties like Yuma are trying to balance the needs of residents with the migrants queueing 

Construction workers stand at a jobsite in the U.S.-Mexico border, where the work to fill border gaps, previously filled by shipping containers, has begun in Yuma, Arizona, U.S., January 12, 2023

Construction workers stand at a jobsite in the U.S.-Mexico border, where the work to fill border gaps, previously filled by shipping containers, has begun in Yuma, Arizona, U.S., January 12, 2023

Immigrants line up to present themselves to U.S. Border Patrol agents after spending the night camped alongside the U.S.-Mexico border fence on December 22, 2022

Immigrants line up to present themselves to U.S. Border Patrol agents after spending the night camped alongside the U.S.-Mexico border fence on December 22, 2022

Asylum-seekers line up to be processed by US Customs and Border Patrol agents at a gap in the US-Mexico border fence near Somerton, Arizona, on December 26, 2022

Asylum-seekers line up to be processed by US Customs and Border Patrol agents at a gap in the US-Mexico border fence near Somerton, Arizona, on December 26, 2022

Asylum-seekers attempt to warm up next to a small fire as they wait to be processed by a US Customs and Border Patrol agent near the US-Mexico border fence near Somerton, Arizona, on December 26, 2022

Asylum-seekers attempt to warm up next to a small fire as they wait to be processed by a US Customs and Border Patrol agent near the US-Mexico border fence near Somerton, Arizona, on December 26, 2022

A strain has also been put on the city when it comes to food, with migrants walking across crop fields risking a pillar of the community’s local economy. Yuma is the winter lettuce capital of the US due to its famed all-year-round sun. It produces 93 percent of the country’s lettuce during the winter months.

Local farmer Alex Muller told Fox News: ‘Our fields are monitored and audited and tested for different pathogens. You can’t have people walking through the field.’ 

County Supervisor Lines called on the Biden administration to act to relieve the pressure on border counties, and to visit Yuma to witness the strain that has been placed on the community.

‘Please come and see for yourself,’ Mr Lines said, addressing the Biden administration on Fox News.

‘I’ve invited them several times, and I would invite them again right now,’ he added.

A bipartisan delegate from Washington DC, led by Senators Kyrsten Sinema and John Cornyn visited Yuma earlier this month. However, officials complained that they saw a ‘sanitized’ version of the border crisis.

A bipartisan group of senators led by Texas Republican John Cornyn and Arizona independent Kyrsten Sinema arrived to visit the border earlier this month

A bipartisan group of senators led by Texas Republican John Cornyn and Arizona independent Kyrsten Sinema arrived to visit the border earlier this month

Migrants wait along a border wall after crossing from Mexico, near Yuma, Ariz., on Aug. 23, 2022

Migrants wait along a border wall after crossing from Mexico, near Yuma, Ariz., on Aug. 23, 2022

The southern United States border at Yuma, Arizona, January 10, 2023

The southern United States border at Yuma, Arizona, January 10, 2023

Mr Lines said after the visit, that border crossings had dropped to almost nothing amid tighter activity on the Mexican side, while discarded shoes, medicine bottles and other evidence of illegal crossings had been removed from along the US side.

‘Everything’s been 100% sanitized here as well. Even more so than they’ve ever done before. And we’re actually not even seeing people coming across the border right now,’ he said.

‘It’s interesting because I’ve had several congressional delegations come to Yuma and the unannounced delegations always see the real border challenge, not the publicized ones.’

Lines said the senators would see little to help them understand the nature of the crisis.

‘It’s a lie,’ he said. ‘They’re misrepresenting what’s actually happening at the border.

‘Every single time there’s a high profile visit, this is par for the course, so that people never get to see what it looks like.’

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