Senator Mark Kelly says the border situation in Yuma is a “crisis”
FOX 9's Adam Klepp spoke exclusively with the senator about appropriations coming to the southern border
YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - Border security, still top of mind for members of the federal government as a bill totaling well over a billion dollars is expected to be signed by the president to get more money to help secure our border.
The money comes as apprehensions for this year are expected to break last year’s record of 1.7 million and activity in the Yuma Sector is heating up.
“We have a crisis at our southern border,” Senator Mark Kelly said.
Kelly says $1 billion is specifically going to CBP for processing facilities, migrant medical care, transportation and personnel overtime.
Hundreds of millions of appropriations from the federal budget are also expected to go toward advanced border technology, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as humanitarian costs for FEMA.
Below is the full list of dollar amounts and areas of funding provided by Senator Kelly's office.
- $1.06 billion for CBP for processing facilities; migrant medical care, transportation, personnel overtime and other costs;
- $239.7 million for ICE for processing capacity, personnel overtime; transportation; and other costs;
- $150 million for FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program for nonprofit organizations sheltering migrants.
- $256 million for better technology at the border which includes:
- Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NII) inspection systems to reach 100% screening and enhance CBP’s effectiveness in detecting contraband at ports of entry while increasing the throughput of legitimate cargo and visitors.
- Tunnel technology funding to detect underground cross-border tunnels used by cartels in border areas for drug and human trafficking and for the detection of movement in Underground Municipal Infrastructure (UMI), such as drainage pipes and sewer systems.
- Agent Deployable Aerostat Platform Technology (ADAPT) deployment which would give Border Patrol layered surveillance technology defenses to combat transnational criminal organizations.
Despite the big price tag, Senator Kelly says it’s justified.
"So if we have to spend more money on the problem, as long as we’re doing it responsibly, I’m all for that,” Kelly said.
One issue, still not solved in the Yuma Sector is the gaps along the border wall migrants use to cross into the U.S.
One group crossed through a gap near the Morelos Dam earlier this week, including asylum seekers from Colombia, who said their journey was dangerous.
"There is no looking back. We left everything. Our family. Imagine leaving everything behind and now you’re here,” Andres and Luis said.
There was no law enforcement presence when the group crossed, and they got tired of waiting, so they began to walk into town.
The group made its way down County 9th Street, before eventually being picked up by border patrol and driven back to the wall.
Senator Kelly has advocated for the government to close the gaps in the Yuma Sector border fence, and the Department of Homeland Security previously said they plan to close them in 2022.
"I saw Secretary Mayorkas a few weeks ago, he assures me this is being worked on, and I’m going to continue to push homeland security that this issue of these open gaps is addressed,” Kelly said.