The White House is completing more sections of former President Donald Trump’s border wall, and the Department of Homeland Security is closing four gaps in the barrier near Yuma, Arizona, that have become a main route of migrants.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Authorized Customs and Border Protection Thursday to seal openings near the Morelos Dam, just west of downtown Yuma.
The department said the area “poses safety and life-threatening risks to migrants attempting to cross into the United States, where there is a risk of drowning and injury from falls. This area also poses a risk to life and safety to first responders and officers responding to incidents in this area.”
The dam sits on a section of the border that runs north-south along the Colorado River before turning east-west at the California-Arizona state line.
Border officials have reported 235,230 encounters with migrants in the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector since Oct. 1. 1 from last year. Only the Del Rio (326,177) and Rio Grande Valley (377,194) sectors have reported more encounters in the same period.
President Biden ordered to stop the construction of the border wall shortly after taking office in January 2021. While the move was praised by liberal activists, it also left holes in the barrier that critics, including Biden’s fellow Democrats, say have been exploited by individual migrants and human traffickers. who traffic groups of people across the border.
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) praised DHS Thursday for filling vacancies.
“For far too long, the Morelos Dam area has been an operational challenge for Border Patrol agents to properly secure the border and keep our communities safe,” Kelly said in a statement.
“I’m glad the Department of Homeland Security has listened to Arizona and is going to close these gaps,” Kelly added. “This is a step forward and I will continue to work to ensure Arizona has the necessary tools for a safe and orderly process at the border, including fencing and barriers where they make sense.”
Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls, a Republican, also praised the move, calling it “an important first step in getting this border crisis under control, supporting our police and keeping border communities safe.”
The project will be funded by DHS fiscal year 2021 appropriations, which were approved during the Trump administration.
Earlier this month, the department similar border wall construction approved to replace a “dilapidated barrier” located near the cross-border Friendship Park in Imperial Beach, California.
december last year, Financing approved by Mayorkas to close unfinished construction gaps that would “address life, safety, environmental and remedial requirements for border barrier projects” in California, Arizona and Texas.
The movement to close the openings in Yuma comes as record number of migrants have tried to cross into the US
June was the fourth month in a row that border officials encountered more than 200,000 migrants (207,416). It also brought the total number of stops recorded since October 1. 1 to 1,746,119, the most in any fiscal year since 1960.
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