Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared Aug. 24 that border gaps were closed and the Yuma border was safer.
However, migrants have found their way through a path that stretches more than six miles along the Cocopah Reservation — land the government can’t legally use to erect a wall of any kind.
Border Patrol agents have referenced the space as “the governor’s funnel.” It allows for more efficient processing and transportation by stopping migrants at the same point along their path, but it isn’t acting as a deterrent.
More than, 5,900 migrants crossed into the Arizona border city during the week that the shipping container project was underway, according to the Border Patrol data NewsNation obtained.
An additional 6,202 migrants crossed into Yuma the week following the project’s completion, an increase of 281 crossings.
Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls said he wants to see the federal government take action.
“We need to have a congressional change. we need to have the secretary’s office step up and put actual policies in place on the current laws that would discourage and prosecute people who are coming through, which is … the ultimate discouragement,” Nicholls said.
Not only are the shipping containers not acting as a deterrent, but they also have pushed people into other parts of the Yuma sector that are now struggling to handle the influx. It’s difficult to transport migrants in buses or vans in the new crossing area because of the terrain. Officials say they must take multiple trips in trucks instead.
The governor’s office has previously said it would consider using the shipping containers to fill other gaps. It’s unclear when or where that might occur.
Ducey’s office did not immediately respond to NewsNation’s request for comment.