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Regional Center for Border Health keeps busy with migrants

YUMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Although there have been less migrants crossing into the Yuma sector this summer than normal, the Regional Center for Border Health (RCBH) has stayed consistently busy.

About two weeks ago, RCBH started helping the Tucson Sector twice a day, as their apprehension numbers were increasing while ours went down.

After migrants are processed by border patrol, they’re brought to the Regional Center for Border Health where they receive medical care, and food and coordinate transportation to their final destination.

“We continue seeing the number from the Yuma Sector about five busses to six busses so that’s an average of 350 depending how many kids or newborn babies you can go up to 400 a day,” said President and CEO of RCBH Amanda Aguirre.

Assisting migrants like Grace from Ecuador, who traveled here with her husband and three children.

“My situation is a little bit complicated because in Ecuador they told me to leave the country or they were going to murder me and my family, and since I have kids, I decided to leave the country,” said Grace.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released apprehension numbers for last month, with over 6,700 migrants seen in the Yuma Sector in August.

That's a slight increase from July, but still much lower than what Yuma was seeing in December 2022, over 30,000.

So, the Regional Center recently got a request from the governor’s office to assist with the Tucson Sector migrant releases. 

“And so we were able to step up and help with two buses a day and we did that for about a week, two weeks since the numbers here in Yuma were a little bit low for us,” said Aguirre.

RCBH is the only non-governmental organization assisting migrants in Yuma.

Their goal is to prevent migrant releases onto the streets.

“The residents of Yuma County are not going to be seeing migrants in the streets like they’ve seen in El Paso or San Diego and other border communities that are facing the challenge of families living in the streets,” said Aguirre.

Aguirre said the center can process one bus with 55 people in less than an hour.

This fiscal year CBP said the Yuma sector saw over 168,000 migrants. 

Grace and her family are part of that statistic.

She said the journey to the Yuma border was not easy, taking her family one month and eight days to make it to the United States. 

“Maybe the way I got here was not the correct way, but with all the death threats I am grateful I am here and I’m grateful for all the help I’ve been offered,” said Grace.

Article Topic Follows: Yuma County

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Samantha Byrd

Samantha Byrd joined the KYMA team in February 2022 and is the morning anchor/producer for News 11 and Fox 9.

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