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Biden administration to fill gaps in Arizona border wall

The White House is finishing extra sections of former President Donald Trump’s border wall, with the Department of Homeland Security closing 4 gaps in the barrier close to Yuma, Ariz., which have grow to be a major migrant thoroughfare.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas authorized Customs and Border Protection Thursday to seal the openings close to the Morelos Dam simply west of downtown Yuma.

The division mentioned the realm “presents safety and life hazard risks for migrants attempting to cross into the United States where there is a risk of drownings and injuries from falls. This area also poses a life and safety risk to first responders and agents responding to incidents in this area.” 

The dam sits in a bit of the border that runs north-south alongside the Colorado River earlier than turning on an east-west monitor on the California-Arizona state line.

Border officers have reported 235,230 migrant encounters in the Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector since Oct. 1 of final year. Only the Del Rio (326,177) and Rio Grande Valley (377,194) sectors have reported extra encounters in the identical interval.

One of the gaps in the wall near the Morelos Dam in Yuma, Arizona.
One of the gaps in the wall close to the Morelos Dam in Yuma, Arizona.
AFP by way of Getty Images

President Biden ordered a halt to border wall building shortly after taking office in January 2021. While the transfer was praised by liberal activists, it additionally left holes in the barrier that critics — together with Biden’s fellow Democrats — say have been exploited by particular person migrants and human traffickers smuggling teams of individuals throughout the border.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) praised DHS Thursday for filling in the openings.

“For 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 mentioned in a press release.

Migrants scale an outlet drain at the Morelos Dam in April 2022.
Migrants scale an outlet drain on the Morelos Dam in April 2022.
James Keivom

“I’m glad that 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’ll keep working to ensure that Arizona has the tools needed for a secure and orderly process at the border including fencing and barriers where they make sense.”

Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls, a Republican, additionally hailed the transfer, calling it “an important first step to getting this border crisis under control, supporting our law enforcement, and keeping border communities safe.”

The project can be funded by DHS’ fiscal year 2021 appropriations — which had been accepted through the Trump administration. 

Border officials have reported 235,230 migrant encounters in the Border Patrol's Yuma Sector since Oct. 1 of last year.
Border officers have reported 235,230 migrant encounters in the Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector since Oct. 1 of final year.
James Keivom

Earlier this month, the division accepted comparable border wall building to exchange a “deteriorated barrier” situated close to the cross-border Friendship Park in Imperial Beach, Calif.

In December of final year, Mayorkas okayed funding to shut unfinished building gaps that might “address life, safety, environmental, and remediation requirements for border barrier projects” in California, Arizona and Texas. 

The transfer to shut the openings in Yuma comes as document numbers of migrants have tried to cross into the US. 

June was the fourth straight month in which border officers encountered greater than 200,000 migrants (207,416). It additionally introduced the entire variety of stops recorded since Oct. 1 to 1,746,119 — probably the most in any fiscal year since 1960.

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