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Presidential debate sparks discussion on Yuma County border safety

YUMA, Ariz.– During the Republican Presidential debate Dr. Ben Carson mentions Yuma County one of the most effective border areas in controlling illegal immigrants from coming into the United States.

“Yuma County they stop 97 percent of the illegal immigration through there,” said Ben Carson during the debate.

Securing the border has been a long road for Yuma Sector Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies.  At one point Yuma County was the busiest illegal border crossing in the nation.  In 2005, more than 140,000 people were crossing the border illegally.  By fiscal year 2014, Border Patrol statistics show the number of arrests have reduced to 5,500.  It’s attributed to many factors including Operation Streamline, a program that was started in December 2006, that prosecutes every criminal offender caught committing any type of illegal activity. Law enforcement also say the reduction in arrests are attributed to more fencing, specialized technology, cameras, and man power.

Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot remains vigilant in his attempt to continue to keep the county safe.  Wilmot said with the high number of illegal immigrants crossing the border the crime also increased dramatically.  Operation Streamline was one way to ensure all criminals were prosecuted according to the law until the Attorney General decided not to prosecute some federal offenses like first-time illegal crossing.  In order to continue to keep Yuma County’s crime at a minimum Wilmot deputized some federal agents to ensure all crimes were punishable on a state level.

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