By Corinne Murdock |
President Joe Biden’s border crisis hasn’t slowed down in the least, as was made apparent by recent evidence that illegal immigrant detention centers continue to be well over their capacity nearly a year after his administration began. Last week, leaked photos given to the Washington Examiner revealed the current state of one Yuma detention center. The pictures depict accommodations akin to those used by the hoards of homeless overcrowding deep blue cities like San Francisco, California, or Seattle, Washington: illegal immigrants huddled under makeshift tarp tents, touching elbows in areas with standing room only, nestled shoulder to shoulder with their belongings along hallways, or packed together on floors to sleep in space blankets.
Insiders involved with the detention center reported that the number of those detained surpassed the space available inside for the nighttime, forcing illegal immigrants to sleep outside under the makeshift tents in the freezing or near-freezing weather outdoors.
The insiders further informed the Washington Examiner that Biden’s border crisis upended the normal ebb and flow of illegal immigration: the usual easing up of illegal crossings around the holidays didn’t occur last year.
Border Patrol Yuma Sector union President Rafa Rivera told the news outlet that no CDC guidelines can be followed due to overcrowding.
Former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould explained to AZ Free News that the detention facility numbers seen currently are two to four times normal capacity; under normal circumstances, the sites cost taxpayers about $8 million a month in operational expenses.
Gould added that the overcrowding has minimized some in recent weeks — from around 3,000 to 1,200 thanks to greater efforts by law enforcement to secure the border. Authorities were prompted to take further action as illegal immigrants were trampling the area’s agricultural fields as they traveled. Yuma County serves as one of the nation’s premiere suppliers in winter produce, calling itself the “winter vegetable capital of the world.”
“90 percent of the [winter] produce in the country comes out of Yuma. It’s a critical area for food and food safety and producing food,” said Gould. “The illegal immigrants are basically trampling down crops in fields. Not only are they destroying crops but they’re crops that are highly regulated. Preventing any type of contamination in those fields is important because it puts our food supply at risk.”
Gould also pointed out that many illegal immigrants, especially those from Mexico, don’t have access to good health care. He explained that the detained expose border patrol and any others present to serious disease like tuberculosis, on top of COVID-19. He questioned why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has focused on all other workplaces, especially throughout the pandemic, but hasn’t intervened with these detention centers.
“Nationwide, OSHA is mandated to protect workplace safety but I haven’t seen anything about OSHA about the workplace conditions of border patrol agents workpace sites,” mused Gould.
It’s not just the temperatures and sanitary issues, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, that have caused concern. Illegal Haitian immigrants have become increasingly violent as they continue to be deported back to Haiti, causing fights on the deportation flights or resisting arrest along the border.
Overcrowding in deportation centers shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the number of encounters experienced over the course of days has equaled or surpassed what authorities would experience in a month or more.
As AZ Free News reported, Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls declared a state of emergency early last month after authorities captured the number of illegal immigrants normally apprehended in a month’s time in five days: over 6,000 illegal immigrants. Per Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) latest report, over 173,600 illegal immigrants were apprehended in November.
Thousands of illegal immigrants in a matter of days has been more of a regular occurrence rather than an exception to the rule under the Biden Administration. About a week after Nicholls’ emergency declaration, Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris Clem announced the encounter of over 2,600 illegal immigrants in one weekend.