Recap: KTAR News’ trip to the border when Ducey, Nielsen were there

Apr 20, 2018, 4:24 AM | Updated: 10:00 am

(Martha Maurer/KTAR News)...

(Martha Maurer/KTAR News)

(Martha Maurer/KTAR News)

LISTEN: Martha Maurer, KTAR News Reporter

YUMA, Ariz. — Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, alongside Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, visited the Arizona border with Mexico in San Luis, south of Yuma on Wednesday. The duo toured the border wall and spoke to Customs and Border Protection representatives to learn about enforcement operations in the area.

Ahead of their visit, KTAR News sat down with Justin Kallinger, Operations Officer, CBP Yuma Sector. He provided statistics on apprehensions of undocumented immigrants at the Yuma Sector.

In 2005, 138,438 people were apprehended at the border in the Yuma Sector, which is comprised of 26 linear miles, with more than 800 agents tasked with enforcement. In that year, agents also intercepted 2,706 vehicles crossing into the U.S. with contraband. In 2017, apprehensions of illegal immigrants was 12,847 with only 10 vehicle incursions.

“At that time in ’05 we knew we were struggling,” said Kallinger. “That’s when at that time the Bush Administration enacted Operation Jumpstart which was when the National Guard came and helped out to build some of the infrastructure we have today.”

In 2006, Congress enacted the Secure the Fence Act allowing for the installation of 63 miles of wall and 44 miles of vehicle barriers on Yuma Sector’s border.

Kallinger said the increase in manpower also contributed to improve safety in the area. Nearly 330 agents served with CBP in 2004, that number has increased to 857 in 2017.

A few hours before the arrival of Nielsen and the governor to San Luis, officer Kallinger revealed members of the National Guard had been deployed and had begun arriving in the Yuma Sector.

UPDATE: 64 members to be assigned to Yuma area. Total of 440 authorized to AZ border with Mexico. *****Status of the AZ National Guard in the Yuma Sector. KTAR's @MarthaMaurerKTAR asked Justin Kallinger with CBP.

Posted by KTAR News on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Governor Ducey offered more details on the number of troops heading to Yuma and the other border sectors. He announced an increase of more than 100 troops that had been authorized to head to the border, bringing the total to 440, 64 of them to the Yuma area.

Martha Maurer live in Yuma before Ducey + DHS Secretary speak

KTAR’s Martha Maurer reports live from Yuma ahead of a visit from Gov. Doug Ducey and the DHS Secretary to the border.

Posted by KTAR News on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The awaited arrival of Nielsen to the San Luis border provided journalists from both the U.S. and Mexico to take a unique look at the existing wall near the San Luis Port of Entry.

The following videos and photos are from the scene:

Martha Maurer takes us on a ride along the San Luis-AZ border ahead of the DHS Secretary and Gov. Ducey visit.

Posted by KTAR News on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

After a quick tour with CBP agents, Nielsen spoke to reporters about the need for more infrastructure at the border and called the situation along the border with Mexico, a “crisis.”

“Despite the step this administration has taken to strengthen border security, we continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang and transnational criminal organization activity and illegal immigration flow across our nation’s border,” said Nielsen.

Overall, the number of illegal aliens encountered at the border increased 200 percent in March 2018 when compared to the same time last year, according to statistics provided by Nielsen.

The number of unaccompanied children encountered has increased more than 800 percent. She also added there’s been a 37 percent increase of drug seizures at the border in March and assaults on border personnel went up 73 percent.

Nielsen used the visit as an opportunity to call on Congress to change existing, problematic immigration laws.

She shared several examples.

“We need Congress to act to fix a law that prevents us from promptly removing illegal aliens from Central America. We need Congress to act to raise the credible fear standard to prevent the rampant gaming of the asylum system. To put it simply, we need Congress to do its job,” she said.

Recap of the DHS Secretary's visit to the AZ-Mexico border.

DHS Secretary Nielsen visited the border in AZ today along with Gov. Doug Ducey. @MarthaMaurerKTAR was there and brings us a recap.

Posted by KTAR News on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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Recap: KTAR News’ trip to the border when Ducey, Nielsen were there