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Migrants crossing the border in more ways than one

More than 3,500 migrant apprehensions in the last seven days - News 11's Arlette Yousif reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Activity at the U.S. - Mexico border in Yuma continues to rise despite the heat. Criminals are not only smuggling humans, they're also bringing illegal drugs into our country.

Border Patrol agents are busier than ever with more than 3,500 migrant apprehensions in the last seven days, even flying an ultralight aircraft into Yuma to smuggle contraband.

"It’s easier to maneuver and get around, you know, undetected. The contraband aboard was taken and whoever was piloting the plane returned back to Mexico," says Yuma Sector Border Patrol Special Operations Supervisor Vincent Dulesky.

Whether they fly, drive, or walk, there is an understanding that they can come to the U.S. and stay based on two regulations.

"Title 8 is our normal immigration procedure. Someone comes over and as we process them, it’s normally under a Title 8 proceeding. The difference in Title 42 is that now we have COVID security measures put in place and those countries that we have an agreement with-- Mexico, we're able to return back expeditiously," explains Agent Dulesky.

Without Title 42 in place, undocumented immigrants would come knowing they wouldn't be sent back to their country… at least not right away.

They would then all have to be housed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a system that’s already overflowing. Just last week, the running average number of apprehensions was 460. Now it's increased to 520, an upward trend for the last three months.

"Apprehended migrants from 65 different countries so far this fiscal year, with the top two countries being Brazil and Cuba," says Agent Dulesky.

Aside from standard apprehensions, Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents have rescued over 375 immigrants since last October. That's up from 81 rescues the previous year. Agents say the increase is a mix of more migrants crossing into the country, and more of them being overwhelmed with the long and dangerous journey.

As migrants know they will not be turned away, more of them are calling 9-1-1 when they get stranded.

Author Profile Photo

Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

You can reach out to Arlette for at arlette.yousif@kecytv.com.

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