Officials in an Arizona border town say they get a weekly flood of migrants totaling 6 percent of their population — and the dire scenario has driven the area to the brink of collapse.
Yuma has fewer than 100,000 residents, yet the town sees 6,000 migrants illegally crossing its border with Mexico every week, for a total of more than half a million people in the past few years, exasperated Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines told Fox News.
“The average for Yuma on a weekly basis is 6,000 people coming across. Of those 6,000, we have 1,000 to 2,000 ‘gotaways’ — people we have not been able to catch,” Lines said.
The Arizona community has been an immigration flashpoint for years, but the burden on the area often gets overlooked, with it currently ranking third in migrant apprehensions — behind El Paso and Del Rio, Texas. El Paso is considered Ground Zero for the border crisis.
“The problem that we’re foreseeing right now is there’s a couple of big waves coming,” Yuma resident and farmer Hank Auza explained of the town’s current situation. “Yuma can’t support that. It will overwhelm the system here.”
Non-profits, churches and the medical system are already struggling, officials and residents say.
“Let’s talk about the financial impact and the strain that it’s placed on our hospital,” Lines said. “So far, Yuma Medical Center has had over $22 million of unreimbursed expenses specifically for people who are illegally crossing our border.”
“I have received calls from people saying, ‘I had to take my wife to San Diego, I had to take my wife to Phoenix to deliver a baby because there were no more beds at this hospital.’ “
Migrant traffic is also threatening one of the city’s main sources of income — agriculture.
“Our fields are monitored and audited and tested for different pathogens,” farmer Alex Muller said. “You can’t have people walking through the field.”
Border Patrol statistics show about 5 million migrants have entered the US through the southern border since President Joe Biden took office. In December, 251,000 were stopped at the international boundary — an all-time high for one month.
Of that total, an estimated 1.2 million illegal migrants were able to escape into the country during Biden’s term, federal sources told Fox News on Sunday.
Local leaders have invited Biden to Yuma, but during the commander-in-chief’s last visit to the Grand Canyon state, he said he had “more important thing to do” than go there.
“I’ve invited them several times, and I would invite them again right now,” Lines reiterated of White House administration officials. ” ‘Please come and see for yourself.’ “