Arizona border town battles strains of mass migration

"It will only get worse with Biden's policies. He needs to reassess," said Lines.

Updated: January 23, 2023 - 5:17pm

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The border town of Yuma, Ariz., is on the brink of collapse as it battles a continuous influx of migrants that strains its resources and infrastructure, local officials have warned.

"The average for Yuma on a weekly basis is 6,000 people coming across. Of those 6,000, we have 1,000 to 2,000 'gotaways' — people we have not been able to catch," according to Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines, Fox News reported. Yuma has a permanent population of roughly 100,000.

"Policies need to be changed when you see an unprecedented amount of people coming across the border that even supersedes what we saw under any of the other presidents for the past 30 years," Lines said. "And they're coming because they said that Biden told them to come, that we have an open border." 

More than 2.4 million migrants entered the U.S. in fiscal year 2022 alone and more than 4 million have done so since President Joe Biden took office. More than 216,000 crossed in December, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an 11% surge from November, indicating that the situation is further deteriorating.

"It will only get worse with Biden's policies. He needs to reassess," said Lines.

Lines is far from the only Yuma resident concerned about the logistics of the mass migration. Local farmer Alex Muller pointed out that routine foot traffic through the city's surrounding farms could impact the quality of its agricultural output.

"Our fields are monitored and audited and tested for different pathogens. You can't have people walking through the field," he told the outlet. Yuma's farmers produce 93% of U.S. leafy greens during winter, Fox observed, adding that mass foot traffic through the region could adversely impact the food supply.

Fellow farmer Hank Auza indicated that he expected a bevy of additional migrants to "overwhelm the system" in Yuma and that the existing traffic was clogging up the hospital system.

Yuma, alongside other critical border towns, stands at the forefront of the crisis, which local officials have attributed to the Biden administration's permissive attitude to mass migration.

President Biden visited the border city of El Paso, Texas, in early January. Prior to his arrival, city officials and border authorities scrambled to clear out the migrant camps and the plethora of transients in the streets ahead of his speech, with Republicans pointing to such efforts as evidence that the trip was merely a political ploy held in a Potemkin Village. That term references an apocryphal tale in which Russian statesman Grigory Potemkin created a string of fake, prosperous villages on the route to Crimea, to convince Empress Catherine II that the province had been pacified.

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