The number of families, unaccompanied children, and single adults being taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol continue to increase along the Southwest border.
Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot said the numbers are overwhelming local border agents and impacting the community and his deputies.
Sheriff Wilmot tells KAWC's, Kim Johnson he lays the blame at the feet of the Biden Administration.
"Not only do we have a crisis, it's also catastrophic in nature," Sheriff Wilmot said. And he says it started as soon as Biden signed executive orders in February, rolling back Trump-era policies at the border.
As a result, it has had a significant impact on the resources and how border patrol agents perform, said Wilmot. "They [ Yuma Sector Border Patrol] had over 250 unaccompanied juveniles just in the Yuma Sector itself."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) is the agency to handle illegal apprehensions at the border but Sheriff Wilmot said the Biden Administration 'diluted' the agency, handing down the responsibilities to the Border Patrol.
"What needs to be understood is that Border Patrol's sole function is border security," Wilmot said.
He also goes on to explain how the dilution of ICE has emboldened drug cartels.
"That opens up the cartel’s window of opportunity at other locations on the
border to smuggle in the heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and,
obviously the fentanyl," he said.
Sheriff Wilmot says the Southwest Border Sheriff's have asked to work with the Biden Administration on a solution to what's going on at the border. The Sheriff is still waiting to hear back from the administration.