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"Crisis" at unfinished border wall as migrant numbers surge

Hole in border wall in Cochise County
Posted at 10:52 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 10:03:24-05

COCHISE COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN) — "We're on our own out here," Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said.

On President Biden's first day in office, he signed an executive order that terminated the construction of the border wall.

Construction at the southwest border in Cochise County stopped, but the migrants kept coming. Now, both migrants and cartels are using the roads left behind from construction.

"What we have now is walking paths for the carter for their smuggling efforts," Dannels said. "We just built infrastructure for the cartels."

Prior to the construction of the wall, a mountain had served as a barrier to entry.

"This is worse now than it was before, there was no infrastructure, but mountains," Dannels said. "Now we have holes in our wall."

Cochise County Sheriff's Office says it has seen over a 200% increase in migrants coming across the border over the past year.

Sheriff Dannels is calling the situation at the border is a crisis.

"This is a crisis all around the southwest border and it's all built around a hasty decision a hasty executive order and a lack of coordination between local state and the federal," Dannels said. "Everybody is saying it down here. The only one not saying it is Washington D.C."

When asked if the situation at the border was a crisis, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: "I don't think we need to sit here and put new labels on what we have already conveyed is challenging."

Just this week, Customs and Border Protection shut down some highway checkpoints in Arizona.

"Every checkpoint in Cochise County has been closed," Dannels said.

As a result, Dannels says the number of illegal drugs and people being smuggled into the country is increasing.

"We're just going on this very sharp increase for smuggling," Dannels said. "The messaging on the southwest border has to change."

To help, Sheriff Dannels has been in contact with Governor Doug Ducey. The two are continuing to discuss plans to secure the border. One of the options on the table includes activating the national guard.

"We're planning meetings here in the future to discuss what's the best approach," Dannels said.