MaryAnn Martinez and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, New York Post, August 21, 2023
Thousands of migrants are flowing across the US border in Arizona every day — literally through open floodgates that have made the Tucson post the busiest point of illegal entry into the country, The Post has learned.
US officials have inexplicably welded open 114 massive gates along the Arizona border to allow water to flow freely during the annual monsoon season and for the migration of an endangered species of antelope, officials said.
But the move is also letting an average of 1,400 migrants from as far away as China casually walk into the country daily — with overwhelmed and outnumbered border agents practically helpless to stop them.
“We thought the agents were going to tell us something,” one Ecuadorean migrant said. “But we just walked in.”
Said another from Cuba: “It was so easy to get into the US.
“Nothing like our journey through Mexico. That part was hard,” she added. “I thought there was going to be more security.”
“We haven’t seen this many migrants since about 2008,” said Adam Isacson, director for defense oversight at the advocacy group Washington Office on Latin America. “With the end of Title 42, in a way that nobody oversaw, it seems to come back to Tucson.
“What you’re seeing is a lot of large groups who want to turn themselves in,” Isacson said. “Tucson has also traditionally been where smugglers concentrate Mexicans and Central Americans who don’t want to be detected. Now they’re seeing 100 people at a time who are not running away.
“It’s really becoming an epicenter,” he said. “This is big.”
Each of the 114 gates in Arizona, which have been open for nearly two months, has 12-foot doors wide enough for a motorcycle to drive through. Smugglers drive busloads of migrants to the Mexican side of the border, where they get off and simply walk into the US.
Border Patrol sources said the call to open the gates came from several federal agencies, including the National Park Service.
But because the monsoon season started late this year, they remained open for weeks before there was any rain — allowing migrants a dry path into the US.
“We tried to shut the gates but the order came down that we had to leave them open,” one source said. “You wouldn’t leave the front door of your house open in a bad neighborhood.”
The gates run along a 36-mile stretch near Lukeville, Arizona.
Understaffed border agents can do little to stop the flood.
“Everything changed since [President Biden] took over,” one source said. “This part of the border wall was built four years ago. Now we’re just letting people through.
“Brutal,” the source added. “No one wants to do this. They [the migrants] commit a federal crime, we charge them, they don’t get convicted. They don’t get sent back. They get a credible fear interview, they get an [asylum] court date years from now.
“We never hear anything more than that. The administration is not going to help us.”