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EXCLUSIVE: Yuma Sector’s Border Patrol chief talks border apprehensions

Chief Chris Clem briefs News 11's Crystal Jimenez on illegal traffic along the Mexico border

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Yuma Sector's U.S. Border Patrol agents are seeing much more than an increase of large groups surrendering themselves at the U.S./Mexico border.

In an interview with News 11's Crystal Jimenez, Yuma Sector Chief Chris T. Clem says agents are also seeing a major uptick in both human and drug smuggling, and they're finding more stash houses.

So far in 2021 fiscal year, Yuma Sector agents have come across over 2,000 unaccompanied children at the border. That compares to only 450 unaccompanied children by the same point in 2020.

During FY2020 border patrol Yuma sector reported finding 5 stash-houses the entire year. Already for FY2021 it's come across 6.

Chief Clem says the increases are putting a strain on Border Patrol resources, but he says manpower isn't the agency's greatest need. He says better technology would help agents with virtually all aspects of their mission Clem says he is working closely with his supervisors headquarters to improve local tech.

Meanwhile there are about 150 extra agents assisting at the Southern border. Helping Yuma Sector's agents, the surge capacity force, and Customs and Border Protection Officers.

Chief Clem believes there could be a solution to stopping the influx.

“What we need is consequences for those that enter the country illegally that aren’t entitled to or granted some kind of immigration relief. I think that would put a stop or slow down what we’re dealing with today.”

Currently border patrol is reporting 350-500 apprehensions a day. It says only 8% of those apprehended have been released into the Yuma sector. The rest of those apprehended are either deported, released to the Department of Human and Health Services, or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Crystal Jimenez

Crystal Jimenez began at KYMA as a Digital Content Producer in June 2019, and is now a multimedia journalist.

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