3.10 to Yuma? Residents say not bloody likely as horror stories emerge after city inundated with illegal migrants

More than 250,000 people have flooded the city of 100,000, encouraged by gaps in the border fence and a weakened border patrol force

3.10 to Yuma? Residents say not bloody likely as horror stories emerge after city inundated with illegal migrants
Border Patrol agents check on a migrant from Jamaica who crossed the border from Mexico on May 18 in Yuma, Arizona (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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YUMA, ARIZONA: The city of Yuma in Arizona is known for many things -- it is the winter lettuce capital of the US, the "sunniest city on Earth," as well as the inspiration for the 2007 western '3.10 to Yuma'. However, the town has gained notoriety for migrants of late.

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More than 250,000 people have inundated the city of 100,000 in 2021, encouraged by gaps in the border fence and a Border Patrol force that is stretched to the limit. This has resulted in a staggering $20M bill for medical services for migrants since January, at least 48 dead bodies discovered in the last six months, overwhelmed homeless shelters, a drop in tourism, as well as locals claiming they are being shot at by cartel traffickers.

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Yuma has also become known for sending migrant buses to Washington DC, New York, and Chicago, prompting backlash from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who declared a state of emergency over the influx of migrants, and New York Mayor Eric Adams, who said homeless shelters in the Big Apple had been flooded. Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called Texas governor Greg Abbott 'racist' for sending over busloads of people, reportedly totaling 60. However, as reported by the Daily Mail, 60 is just a drop in the ocean for the people of Yuma. "60? We have 800 coming every day," one elderly local who lives close to the border gap at the Morelos Dam told the newspaper.

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A U.S. Border Patrol agent checks the passports of immigrants after they crossed the border with Mexico on May 18, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona. Title 42, the controversial pandemic-era border policy enacted by President Trump, which cites COVID-19 as the reason to rapidly expel asylum seekers at the U.S. border, is set to officially expire on May 23rd. A federal judge in Louisiana is expected to deliver a ruling this week on whether the Biden administration can lift Title 42.
A US Border Patrol agent checks the passports of immigrants after they crossed the border on May 18, 2022, in Yuma, Arizona (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

"You have mayors from Washington DC and New York City that are complaining about a couple of thousand people over three or four months – we're seeing those numbers monthly or even weekly," Yuma mayor Douglas Nicholls told the outlet. "If those few thousand people are having an impact, imagine the impact of over 200,000 people. I think what it is, is a wake-up call for them. They want to have them in their communities, they want to be a sanctuary city. Well, this is what being a sanctuary city is – being open to receiving people. Complaining about being sent 60 people seems hypocritical, to be frank."

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Yuma is one of the most affected border cities with a whopping 24,424 people crossing the Sonoran Desert into the city in July. According to the Daily Mail, that is a 400 per cent increase from 2021, which itself saw a nearly 2,400 per cent spike since 2020. Mayor Nicholls said most of the migrants were drawn to the area due to the relative ease of crossing the border. He said that there were 50 breaks in the border wall along the 126-mile Yuma sector, including the infamous 'gap'. The mayor declared a state of emergency in December 2021 after migrants began flooding the city and overwhelming the local homeless shelter. The emergency is still in effect.

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Tourism and agriculture -- which are crucial to Yuma's economy -- have also been impacted as people have been putting off visiting the city despite its famous historic sites, including a 1926 railway depot and a Wild West jail. Most migrants entering Yuma wait to be picked by Border Patrol so they can claim asylum, but others have no intention of being caught. One elderly couple living close to the border fence told the Daily Mail on condition of anonymity how they were awoken recently by a minivan waiting to collect migrants who had cut through a makeshift border fence, a process that reportedly takes less than 20 minutes.

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The couple recalled that the group of 14 was long gone by the time Border Patrol agents arrived at the scene. They claimed the husband had even been shot at by coyotes while he was out taking a walk. A photo obtained by the newspaper showed the pair of coyotes halfway across the Morelos Dam crossing. One of them was reportedly caught and found to have been robbing would-be migrants. The helpless pair also came across migrants wandering along the rural road that leads to the area.

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The couple, who did not reveal their identities for fear of cartels, said the new section of wall built under the Trump administration had helped significantly and they were no longer woken by Border Patrol cars and helicopters. However, they said things took a turn for the worse once President Joe Biden came into office. "We've been here nine years and you get to know who should be here and who shouldn't," the wife told Daily Mail. "Most of them [the migrants] just want a better life but there's always been drug types. It's gone up in the last year." She added, "When I heard Biden had won, I just knew the word would get out down to Mexico and I thought, ok, here we go. It's been worse than I thought. Biden effectively said, 'Come on in everybody.'" Mayor Nicholls also told the newspaper of a 70-year-old woman who had lived on the border all her life but now feels the least safe ever after migrants reportedly appeared in her garden looking for food and water. 
 

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