YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents see an increase in crossers originating from the countries of Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) say. However, most illegal crossings within the Yuma Sector's operations area come from Mexico and Central American countries. They now see a rise in illegal crossers from Bangladesh, Uzbekistan.
Agents say crossers normally come to the United States looking for work, although most claim fear.
Tristen Molina, a special operations supervisor for the Yuma Sector Intelligence Unit’s Targeting and Analysis Section, says many of those leaving Uzbekistan claim they escape due to persecution for sexual orientation. Which in their country, is punishable up to three years in prison.
Border Patrol agents conduct interviews to collect as much information as possible from the crossers about why they're crossing into the U.S.
“The number one mission of the Border Patrol is to keep terrorists out,” Molina said.
The question remains as to why they continue to choose Yuma to smuggle into the country remains unclear.
Oscar Joanicot, supervisory border patrol agent for the Yuma Sector Intelligence Unit, says crossers are told by smugglers where to go or have arrangments made to meet up with other family members in this county.
“They have family here; they know somebody here [in the United States],” Joanicot said.
Yuma Sector says it has also seen border crossers from as far as China, Nepal, Ghana, Russia, and India.
“The constant flow of immigrants from Mexico has always been steady; however, the change from different countries seems to change in waves,” Joanicot said. “This change can be attributed to the different push-pull factors for those nationalities. Some of those factors may include political unrest, economical unrest, or war. Depending on what is happening in a particular country at any given time can contribute to an influx of illegal immigrants to the United States. Some of these illegal immigrants are simply seeking a better life, but some are leaving their home countries to avoid some sort of hardship,” Joanicot continued. “Whether it be from Central America, South America, Asia, Eastern Europe, or the Middle East, I believe the main reason is simply that they believe they are better off in the United States than in their home country.”