Nearly 60,000 migrant encounters at Arizona border in September
Customs and Border Protection released their last numbers of fiscal year 2023, which give insight into the border crisis in September.
As for Arizona, the Tucson Sector dealt with 51,001 migrant encounters in September, and the Yuma Sector had 5,935 encounters.
These numbers were consistent with recent months when it comes to the Tucson Sector being harder hit, but both areas had staggering figures overall. Tucson had 373,625 and Yuma had 174,201 encounters, with a total of 547,826. Along the entire southwest border, there were over 2 million encounters.
Jobe Dickinson, President of the Border Security Alliance, told The Center Square in an email statement that the difference between Yuma and Tucson numbers has to do with the strategies of cartels.
“Over the last year, the numbers have fluctuated in the different sectors of Border Patrol in Arizona. While Yuma had more encounters during last winter than the Tucson sector, the cartels are ever changing their smuggling habits,” he said.
“Yuma had been an open door, and CBP developed a processing protocol that was somewhat efficient. However, with the ending of Title 42, the cartels changed their approach,” he added. “They started leading more illegal immigrants through the Tucson sector in remote locations like Ajo, and Cochise County. In these remote areas, it takes more Border Patrol agents to apprehend and process because the processing centers are smaller. Illegals were having to be bussed around the state in order to be processed, using more time and resources for Border Patrol to process them, instead of their main mission to patrol the border.”
The Center Square reported that there were over 33,000 “gotaways” that crossed the southern border in September, which are migrants who “intentionally evade capture.” The figure for gotaways is likely to be much higher because of the nature of the status. Those numbers, not published by CBP, are shared with The Center Square by an official who remains anonymous due to fear of career reprisal.
The Tucson Sector topped the list with the most encounters in September, surpassing the extremely busy Del Rio and Rio Grande Valley sectors in Texas.
As for gaps at the Arizona border, the federal government has been making some progress in areas. Sasabe, a small community along the border south of Tucson, recently had two gaps filled, even though there are 50 gaps still open, according to The Arizona Republic.