LUKEVILLE, Arizona — Nearly 1,000 migrants braved near-freezing temperatures in the Arizona desert near Lukeville after crossing the border wall and waiting to be processed by the Border Patrol. With most border facilities facing overcrowding and limited transportation resources to serve the remote area, many migrants are spending days sleeping in the desert, hoping to gain their freedom into the United States to pursue asylum claims.
Breitbart Texas arrived in Lukeville, Arizona, on Saturday morning as a limited number of Border Patrol agents stood watch over hundreds of migrants from a host of countries as far away as Pakistan, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Ecuador, and several West African nations. The migrants stripped branches from scrub brush in the Organ Pipe National Monument reserve to build fires for warmth as they waited for days to be processed and released by the Border Patrol. On Saturday, temperatures dipped to near freezing by early morning as the migrants braved the cold, hoping to surrender to authorities.
As the fires burned out, some migrants walked into the reserve area to strip branches from small trees to fuel the fires. Lacking bathroom facilities, the necessity to use the federally protected reserve area to perform bodily functions was unavoidable as they awaited transport to a processing facility. Due to the remoteness of Lukeville and the demands of other migrant groups apprehended within the Tucson Sector, buses and vans arriving to transport the migrants away from Lukeville were few and far between.
As transportation became available, some migrants were taken into custody and marched to a rallying point near the Lukeville Port of Entry, where basic biographical information was taken, personal property was inventoried, and the migrants were placed on arriving busses and vans.
More than 100 miles away, on the Tohono O’odham Nation Reservation near San Miguel, Arizona, several hundred migrants were being guarded by Border Patrol agents competing for the limited transportation resources to be moved out of the elements. The migrants are at the mercy of limited resources the Border Patrol has available to cope with 3,000 migrants crossing into the sector on some days.
According to the Border Patrol, 17,500 migrants were apprehended by agents within the Tucson Sector during the last week of November. That number does not include the migrants waiting for days to be formally taken into custody until they are entered into an agency database to begin the asylum process.
According to a source within CBP, most of the migrants surrendering to Border Patrol agents in the sector will be quickly released to non-government shelters in Tucson and Pheonix where travel to other parts of the United States will be facilitated by shelter employees.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, the Border Patrol apprehended nearly 190,000 migrants entering the United States illegally at the southern border in November. The Tucson Border Patrol Sector, which includes Lukeville and San Miguel, continues to lead the southwest border with the apprehension of nearly 119,000 migrants during October and November.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.