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Tohono O'odham chairman: More federal resources needed amid higher border encounters

Published: Thursday, November 9, 2023 - 8:12am
Updated: Thursday, November 9, 2023 - 9:42am

Officials from the Tohono O’odham Nation say federal resources are needed to help respond to an increase in asylum seekers on tribal land. 

Some 60 miles of the borderland are in the Tohono O’odham Nation. That includes the San Miguel Gate — a small crossing that members of the border-split tribe can use to go back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico.

But more than 3,000 migrants have been found at the gate and taken into Border Patrol custody in recent days. 

In a press release Wednesday, Tohono O’odham Chairman Verlon Jose said the majority of migrants there are women, kids and families who are immediately turning themselves into the Border Patrol — rather than trying to evade them. 

He said this is a humanitarian situation caused by failed policies across multiple administrations, including the building of border walls, and more federal help is needed now.

"The Tohono O’odham Nation is requesting that CBP react with manpower and resources with the same speed and flexibility that those moving large numbers of migrants are doing along the U.S. southern border," he said.

A spokesperson with Customs and Border Protection said there has been an increase in the number of migrants at the gate this month and the groups are mostly families from Central America and Mexico.

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