Skip to Content

Out-of-state lawmakers take local border tour

'Americans for Prosperity Foundation' led a group of lawmakers from South Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire on a local border tour

YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF), part of an influential conservative organization, led a group of lawmakers from multiple states on a border tour in Yuma Wednesday.

The group includes legislators from South Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

Stephen Shadegg, AFPF Arizona State Director, says the purpose of the tour is to connect the rest of America with what is really taking place in the border states, the good and the bad.

"Many other states like the people we have here South Carolina, North Carolina, they don't see that day to day like we do," says Shadegg.

They heard from Yuma’s Mayor Doug Nicholls, and County Sheriff Leon Wilmot about the challenges the area is facing due to the large numbers of migrants crossing the border.

According to Border Patrol, there were over 310,000 arrests in fiscal year 2022 and over 28,000 people who got away.

Sheriff Wilmot spoke about the impacts of drug smuggling, specifically fentanyl.

"Arizona, 24.27 million pills this first quarter," Wilmot described.

Republican State Representative Jim Kofalt from New Hampshire said he sees border issues all the way in his home state.

Believing it was important to see the problems up close so he and his colleagues can tackle challenges in the northeast on a criminal and humanitarian level.

“The biggest impact we see is with the opioid crisis. Fentanyl is a serious problem. Hearing from border patrol on that issue was very helpful," Kofalt said. "There’s a lot of people looking for a better life, and we need to deal with them with compassion, and I see a lot of compassion happening here."

Former Yuma Sector Chief Chris Clem was on the tour offering his perspective.

He said he hopes more groups like this make the effort to travel to the southern border to see it for themselves because a border problem today could be a neighborhood problem tomorrow.

“The real problem is here at the border, and the communities that are impacted by the border, so let's get down here and get the solutions, so the fact this group is doing it in such large numbers is great," Clem said.

One of the big topics everyone grabbed onto was the migrant workforce.

Shadegg says they weren't expecting to see how valued it is in Yuma.

"Outside of that, I think from the Border Patrol stuff, seeing children being brought across and just left there," says Shadegg. "That impact that has on them I think is very compelling."

The hope from this tour is for the other states to go back and tell others what they learned.

"It gives them credibility and I think the goal there is to begin to the change the narrative right? Like what does this really look like in America?" asks Shadegg.

Shadegg says Arizona has a good relationship with Mexico and believes this crisis can be solved.

"I think we just have to continue to educate individuals around the country especially that aren't from the West," continued Shadegg.

He says we should not have people dying in the desert because of a broken immigration system.

Article Topic Follows: Immigration

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Adam Klepp

Adam Klepp is excited to start his first job in the broadcast news industry as the FOX9 at 9 anchor and as a reporter at 5 and 6 on News 11.

Author Profile Photo

Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA team in 2022 and is the anchor/producer for CBS at 4 p.m.

You can contact her with story ideas at


KYMA KECY is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content