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Crossings along U.S.-Mexico border jump as migrants defy extreme heat and asylum restrictions

Yuma, Arizona —Migration across the southern border illegally, especially through the inhospitable Arizona desert, fell for the first time in two years in June despite record heat, according to government data obtained by CBS News. After slumping to a low level of

Border Patrol forces in the Tucson area, which covers most of the Arizona-Mexico border and part of the Sonoran Desert, have seen 1,900 migrants arrive each day in recent days, a 134% increase over the average. It was confirmed. That number stood at 812 in June, according to unpublished figures from government agencies.

Large groups of migrants, including families with young children, crossing the Arizona desert in extreme and dangerous temperatures exceeding 110 degrees Celsius daily in most parts of the region, are commonly stowed away. It indicates the involvement of the contractor.

The surge in immigrant arrivals has been particularly acute around the small town of Lukeville, Arizona, near Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Border Patrol resources are strained by the surge in Border Patrol forces, as accommodation space is limited in this remote area, to avoid overcrowding at an overcrowded garrison in another desert town, Aho. , border guards rely on keeping migrant men outdoors in triple-digit heat.

CBP asked for comment and acknowledged a “significant increase” in immigrant traffic in the Arizona desert. He also admitted that the facility was “unequipped to accommodate large numbers of migrants” and was holding some migrants outdoors near the train station in Aho. The agency said the migrants were being held in shaded areas.

But CBP stressed that it is working to expedite migration of migrants from the desert and ensure they have access to water, food and medical tests. So far, there have been no heat-related “major medical emergencies” or deaths in the Ajo neighborhood.

“The Border Patrol Service is ramping up personnel and transport resources to meet increased encounters in this region (some of the hottest, most isolated and dangerous areas of the Southwestern border). The agency told CBS News that it is sending people who are relentlessly forced to walk for miles, “often with little or no water.”

“People perish for the American Dream”

Families and adults from China, Colombia, Senegal and other countries enter the United States before sunrise and await deportation by Border Patrol near Yuma, Arizona.
Families and adults from China, Colombia, Senegal and other countries enter the United States before sunrise and await deportation by Border Patrol near Yuma, Arizona.

Camilo Montoya Galvez/CBS News


Yuma, another Arizona border control area, hasn’t returned to last year’s record levels of immigrant arrivals. But large immigrant families from all corners of the globe, from China, Senegal and Mauritania to Colombia and Venezuela, continue to enter the United States in the middle of the night when temperatures drop below 90 degrees.

However, the heat is still dangerous, especially for children and the elderly, and can even lead to death. according to to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fernando Quiros, who distributes water bottles, bananas and granola bars every morning at the busiest intersection near Yuma, said water could save lives in this scorching temperature.

“Bottles of water, snacks, something to keep them fighting for another day. It’s nice for me to be able to do that,” said Quiros, who founded the AZ-CA Humanitarian Coalition, a volunteer group. . “It makes a difference.”

Quiros often arrives at migrants before border agents. After giving them water and food and storing additional supplies in assembled coolers, Kiros tells the migrants to wait until Border Patrol can pick them up and process them to begin the years-long asylum process. to do so.

Continuing to cross the desert alone with little or no water can be a deadly decision, he warns.

“We’re talking about the 110-degree, 120-degree weather we see every day,” Quiros told CBS News. “People perish for the American Dream.”

“Here in our area there are already a lot of deaths,” he added. “I saw my mother, who died a few weeks ago, not far from where I was standing.”

Kiloz said the woman was traveling with her two children and was there before stopping at the site of the collapse. Her and her family’s belongings were still there when CBS News visited the area. Lieutenant Marco Santana, a spokesman for the San Luis Police Department, said officers had recovered the body of a migrant woman in the area in late July after being contacted by Border Patrol. The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of death, but said Santana likely died of dehydration.

Santana told CBS News, “The young woman seemed to start feeling sick and eventually just waited there. Then she was found lying on the floor, nearly collapsed.” said.

Extreme heat or other hazardous conditions may record numbers Number of immigrants who died while in the United States in the last two years. In recent years, heat exposure has been the leading cause of immigrant deaths along the southern US border, followed by drowning.

In 2022, Border Patrol recorded 853 immigrant deaths, surpassing the previous record high of 546 in 2021. The pace of deaths has slowed slightly, but for the first nine months of the current fiscal year 2023, Border Patrol reported. More than 330 migrants died, according to unpublished government agency data obtained by CBS News. The federal fiscal year is from his October 1st to his September 30th.

Limitations of U.S. Policy

Immigrant families and adults will be handled by Border Patrol agents near San Luis, Arizona after receiving water and food from local volunteers.
Immigrant families and adults will be handled by Border Patrol agents near San Luis, Arizona after receiving water and food from local volunteers.

Camilo Montoya Galvez/CBS News


The increase in immigration reflects measures taken by the Biden administration to deter illegal immigration, such as rules that disqualify immigrants from asylum if they enter the United States illegally without first seeking legal protection in another country. it’s happening nonetheless. Last week, the Federal Court of Appeals allowed the administration Continue with asylum restrictions similar to those of the Trump administration.

The Biden administration said immigrant arrests in June were the lowest in two years because of these restrictions on asylum status and to encourage tens of thousands of would-be immigrants to enter the United States legally each month. They blame the programs they created.

Adam Isakson, an immigration analyst at the Washington Office of Latin America and Washington, a Washington think tank, said the rising number of border crossings despite asylum restrictions and record heat is a sign of U.S. border policy. said it showed the limits of the country and the desperation of many immigrants.

“For at least 30 years, U.S. border policy has assumed that if the immigration experience at the border was dangerous and disastrous, with a high likelihood of deportation, people would not come,” Isakson said. said. “Since the early 2010s, it continues to be proven wrong as immigration has steadily increased not only in the United States but across the Americas.”

Isaxon said deteriorating conditions in migrant-sending countries often outweigh the harsh actions and statements of US officials, such as Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott. controversial effort Install razor wires and river barriers along the border with Mexico to discourage crossings.

“Even the most brutal policies, such as those Greg Abbott is attempting in Texas, are nowhere near as harsh as life is today in the slums of Haiti, Venezuela, or Mexico’s cartel war zones,” said Isaxon. Stated. “No US policy should imitate that level of human misery.”

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