On October 25th, 2019, “The Vegas Take” was joined by Yuma sector Border Patrol Agent, Jose Garibay in a tumultuous discussion about his perception on immigration, ICE and their relationship with local law enforcement, and more in response to a new law passed in Las Vegas. The law enforces an end to federal immigration holds and has sparked much deliberation. Garibay commented that these detainers are a tool in the big picture of enforcing immigration laws, and although this law prohibits police detainment of immigrants, they still will be working with the country to apprehend those who are committing bigger felonies. 

 

When asked to reflect on his daily interactions at the Yuma Sector, Garibay said that out of the 138,000 apprehensions this year, the types of people gathered are for the majority crossing to obtain economic help and a better life. There are a minority, however, that are violent criminals. There has been an increase in bringing the drug, fentanyl, over the border. The 27-mile wall may deter illegal entries, something Garibay is hopeful for, but most that are caught for this felony are attempting to bring in the drugs through the 3 checkpoints in the port of entry. He says that border officials need additional funding to hire more security to stop drugs from coming through.  

 

One of the bigger questions Shapiro and Sharp had for Garibay was whether detainees are mistreated at the border. “They are treated humanely” Garibay responded. There is a 60,000 sq. ft facility that gives the individuals the ability to roam around and they are provided with sports equipment to play with, unlimited access to snacks, showers, and fresh clothes, in a sanitary and climate-controlled environment. Contrary to popular belief, there is “not a single cage in site,” said Garibay. In other facilities outside of Yuma, Garibay explained that during the height of the crisis they may have struggled with space, because the facilities were not designed to hold as many people that were being detained. The capacity, for instance, was 400 across all 3 border stations, but at one time there were over 900 illegal aliens in custody there. Garibay says that there isn’t one fix for the problem, but that “it took a long time to get additional money to build the better structure they have today.” Considering they spent more than $4 million on humanitarian aide in 2019 (sanitary products, formula, baby food, etc.) due to an increase in apprehensions, they would need a lot of money nationally to make facilities more comfortable than they already are. Garibay says that this influx of families using resources in one of their primary concerns at the border.

 

“What is the biggest gross assumption that people make about what is going on at the border?” asked Shapiro, to which Garibay responded, “that this is an asylum issue.” In the Yuma sector, only 7% of the apprehended immigrants have claimed asylum. Most urgently, the border needs politician’s assistance to close loopholes in the immigration system, such as extending the timeframe spent in the facilities for unaccompanied alien children and for children with a parent. This group of people are legally released into America after 20 days, which is not long enough for them to be seen before a judge. 

Erika Dagri

Privacy Preference Center

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