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Friday brings end to historic year at Yuma’s border

KYMA

FOX 9's Adam Klepp looks back at the biggest headlines from the last 12 months, and what could come in Fiscal Year 2023

YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - From a Local Emergency Proclamation declared in December of 2021.

To shipping containers being stacked in Yuma's wall gaps.

And over 300,000 apprehensions, September 30th is the last day of what has been a very busy year at the border in the Yuma Sector.

Over the last twelve months, an average of around 800 migrants have walked into Yuma County every single day.

A surge in crossings came to Yuma in October, November and December of 2021.

Prompting Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls to declare a local emergency, which remains in place today.

“What we don’t want is people not having resources and having to move through the community, then it became apparent we needed to do more than we were doing,“ Nicholls said.

The U.S. was not the only country overwhelmed as officials in Mexicali raced to open new shelters as existing ones overflowed.

“We said there was a tsunami coming, it’s here. We want to make a recommendation to the Biden Administration, they need to tell people to stop crossing illegally, and do a better job handling the legal immigration process,” Shelter Director Sergio Tamai said.

In the spring immigration policy debates raged as the Biden Administration sought to end Title 42 and Remain in Mexico.

While the administration terminated Remain in Mexico, a lawsuit brought on by the state of Arizona has forced them to keep Title 42.

A health code that lets CBP deport some migrants due to the ongoing pandemic.

“We need to be able to do things like title 42 in order to make this situation not spill over into something worse,” Tim Roemer from the Arizona Department of Homeland Security said.

In the summer, deaths rose to record levels on the southern border.

One of which was a 5-year-old girl who drowned in the Colorado River near Los Algodones in June.

Yuma’s border chief held a press conference in the desert to highlight efforts law enforcement is taking to prevent dangerous crossings.

“We’ve placed 124 signs in the desert from Yuma to Wellton with coordinates and instructions to call 911,” Chief Patrol Officer Chris Clem said.

This fall, Yuma's wall gaps took center stage.

Nearly 8 months after the Biden Administration announced they would close Yuma's wall gaps, no construction had started.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said he was done waiting for the federal government, and used state money to stack shipping containers on federal land.

“We all know the border is a federal responsibility, but in Arizona we are taking every action possible,” Ducey said in a September visit to the Yuma Border.

This month, local agents hit over 300,000 local apprehensions.

As migrants continue to come through Yuma to seek asylum.

“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.

As for what fiscal year 2023 could bring, migrants will likely continue to cross into Yuma as Title 42 remains in place for at least the next few months.

Arizonans will elect a new governor, who could bring their own changes to state border policy.

And Yuma sector agents will wait and see if border apprehension numbers grow for a 4th straight year.

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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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