Over 1.9 million migrants have been encountered at the U.S. southern border since October, breaking decades-old records.
Nearly 200,000 migrants were encountered at the border in June alone, as governors in states including Texas, Arizona and New Mexico have embarked on plans to control the wave of migrants arriving at the border.
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has been constructing a makeshift wall out of shipping containers, the final pieces of which are being put into place this weekend.
“It gives a more manageable situation for Border Patrol. While they’re not endorsing this plan one way or the other, it does provide more focus for them that things are happening in certain locations, rather than varied location across the border,” said Yuma, Arizona, Mayor Douglas Nicholls.
However, one of the major crossing points is being left open, and now some Border Patrol agents are questioning why the governor doesn’t put the containers along the federal roadway that runs parallel with the Cocopah reservation as hundreds of migrants are continuing to stream through the 6.2 mile gap.
Border patrol agents said the governor’s shipping container plan won’t have an impact as long as the major gap is left open.
Nicholls said the shipping containers are not a long-term solution but are a “step” toward solving the problem. He said the ultimate solution has to be action from politicians in Washington, DC.
“What we need to do is do everything we can, which is put containers up, do whatever we can to deter that kind of trafficking of human and drugs into this country,” said Mark Lamb, the sheriff of Pinal County, Ariz.
Meanwhile in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said his Operation Lonestar efforts have led to nearly 300,000 migrant apprehensions and more than 18,700 criminal arrests, which is separate from the federal Border Patrol response.
As part of Operation Lonestar, the governor continues to bus migrants to the northeast— he says they have sent more than 7,000 migrants to Washington, D.C., and at least 900 to New York City, saying the mission is providing relief to overwhelmed border communities.
Arizona’s governor has sent at least 1,400 migrants to the nation’s capital and maintains the problem is in Washington so that is where the buses will be going.
Drug smugglers, meanwhile, are getting more creative at the border when it comes to evading law enforcement, as they move millions of dollars worth of drugs, particularly fentanyl.
Abbott said at least 326 million pounds of fentanyl have been seized there since March of 2021.
Fentanyl seizures along the southern border are up more than 200% over the last month. But it isn’t just the amount that is coming in, it is who the drug might be targeting that is causing new concern.
In Arizona, more than 370,000 pills were discovered in just a three-day span this week in Nogales. The majority of those pills look just like candy and law enforcement officials are worried this could be the start of a trend with the cartel targeting younger users.
Methamphetamine is also flowing into the country. Arizona state troopers seized more than 162 pounds of methamphetamine this week during a traffic stop. The driver, from Minnesota, was arrested and is facing multiple charges.
According to the DEA, the majority of fentanyl is coming in through the southern border. Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45. Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal, according to the DEA