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SPECIAL REPORT: Crossing After Dark

When the sun goes down, border activity goes up - FOX 9's Adam Klepp reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - The summer months are bringing changes to the Yuma border, but one constant remains.

Record numbers of migrants are still showing up in hopes of a better future for themselves and their families.

Popular illegal crossing spots are now mostly quiet during the day.

Buses line up for migrants to take them to Yuma Sector headquarters

But when the moon is out the migrants arrive.

At night most migrants cross where the border wall ends, as it meets the Cocopah reservation.

This area has become a makeshift bus stop, with local border patrol agents giving one-way rides straight to Yuma Sector headquarters.

Then back to the wall to pick up newly arrived migrants.

The line is made up of asylum seekers from all over the world, as Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Officer Chris Clem says from over 40 different countries in June alone.

Mamuka, an immigrant from Georgia.

One of those immigrants is Mamuka who came from the country of Georgia in Eastern Europe, all the way to Yuma, Arizona.

“America is a developed country. You can do business, you have freedom of speech, and work is valued. People from lagging countries run to America to find a new life,” Mamuka said.

While the sheer number of migrants showing up at the border is unprecedented, representatives for local Border Patrol told me crossing patterns shifting to night is expected every summer.

As temperatures can be 30 to 40 degrees lower than daytime highs, reducing the risks of dehydration and heat stroke.

Yet migrants still say their journey to get here is dangerous.

Camilo Frieda is from Colombia.

He, along with over 75,000 migrants from his country have arrived at the southern border since October first.

He says while crossing at night avoids the dangers of the desert sun, heat is not the only risk he and others face.

“We all know at night, there are more dangers of crime," Frieda said.

And yet, migrants remain undeterred.

They say despite the dangers, fleeing their homes, and starting anew in the states is the best way forward for them, and their families.

“I came to the united states for freedom. There is no freedom in Cuba. Here there is opportunity for people, and my son,” Igual Guerrero said.

June 30th marks the end of another month in what is projected to be the biggest year for migrant apprehensions at the southern border in history.

A Yuma Sector Border Patrol agent photographs a migrant who illegally crossed into the United States.

By the end of September, agents expect to top two-million total migrant arrests.

In mid-July, border patrol will announce monthly apprehension numbers by sector.

But based on my trips to the border this month, I don’t expect we’ll see anything much different than the recent record crossing rates we’ve seen these last several months.

And there are no signs that numbers will go down anytime soon.

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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.


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