YUMA, Ariz. (Border Report) — Davis Ornelas and his 6-year-old daughter Anli managed to walk through ankle-deep water in the Colorado River in an area known as the Yuma Gap, where Mexico, Arizona and California meet.
It’s here where they crossed into the U.S.
Ornelas says he arrived in Mexico from Venezuela on Tuesday and immediately headed for this spot along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I didn’t have to pay any smuggler, a lady told me where to walk to avoid deeper water and it was easy to get across,” Ornelas said in Spanish.
Ornelas is one of 6,000 migrants who in the last five days have made it into the United States through this point, according to Jonathan Lines, a Yuma County Supervisor.
“It’s a tragic situation, a humanitarian crisis. We saw a little bit of a downturn yesterday, but the numbers have climbed up today,” said Lines. “I don’t want to point a finger at anybody, but it would be nice to have federal resources here assisting.”
Lines says the area where migrants are crossing is extremely dangerous.
“It’s not a safe area,” he said. “Yesterday, after we delivered some food, the night before several of the groups we were assisting were held up at gunpoint from across the border; they crossed the border and threatened them at gunpoint, so not necessarily a safe area.”
According to Lines, Border Patrol agents are swamped and don’t have the time to come by and pick up the migrants to get them processed.
Most migrants have to wait for hours to be placed in custody.
Ornelas said he had been waiting for a couple of hours and had not seen any U.S. officers.
“We just have to wait, with my daughter, there’s not much I can do but wait,” he said.
Ornelas told Border Report his mother and sisters are already in the United States.
“I just want to provide for my daughter so she can be happy and have a bright future. I just want to come here and work, there’s nothing for me back home,” he said.
There are migrants here from all over the world.
Border Report spoke with people from Russia, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Columbia and several other countries.
“There are people here from Nepal, the Republic of Georgia, India, and they all share the same story, they sold everything to get here,” Lines said.
Area residents like Rolf Watness have seen a steady increase in the numbers of migrants showing up along the river bank.
“Everybody knows about it, and this is their destination,” said Watness. “This is actually the largest group I’ve seen and I usually see 10 or 20 per day, but now it looks like 50 to 60 people a day, but it’s a daily occurrence.