YUMA, Arizona (Border Report) — Migrants of all ages huddled around a campfire shortly after crossing the border into Yuma, Arizona.
With temperatures not far above freezing, migrants tried to keep warm in an area where volunteers say 600-700 cross every night.
Yuma was also the next stop for migrant advocates and humanitarians on the Journey for Justice caravan, which began in the Gulf of Mexico and will end in the Pacific Ocean.
“We’re out here this morning — it’s chilly, it’s cold. We’ve seen small children,” said Karla Barber as a migrant baby cried in the background.
Barber said she and fellow volunteers spoke with the migrants as they handed out bottled water.
“We’ve seen people who have walked long distances, and everybody was cold and they were appreciative, particularly the water, they had walked through the desert,” Barber said.
The migrants waited for Border Patrol agents to pick them up and take them to a processing center.
Volunteers say border agents can only take a few dozen migrants at once, so many can wait hours.
The Journey for Justice set out from Boca Chica Beach on Dec. 3. Human rights advocates from across the country say they want to highlight injustices along the Southwest border and will caravan along its entire 2,000-mile length.
The Journey for Justice caravan also got to see where the state of Arizona has stacked shipping containers to block gaps in the unfinished border wall.
The shipping containers will soon be gone. The U.S. government sued Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the state over the placement of the shipping containers, saying it is trespassing on federal lands.
According to the Associated Press, Ducey told U.S. officials earlier this week that Arizona is ready to help remove the containers but wants the U.S. government to say when it will fill any remaining gaps in the permanent border wall.
The work to place up to 3,000 containers will cost $95 million and is about a third complete.
“My first thought was that’s crazy,” Barber said. “Why would anybody be spending millions of dollars to stack up shipping containers? We learned they spent $8 million to build this tiny little section of container wall. It’s for nothing; right next to it, it’s wide open and, quite frankly, a complete waste of money.”
After touring the sites in southwest Arizona, the Journey for Justice hit the road again and headed to Calexico, California, where they planned to more migrant advocacy groups.
“It’s what we’ve been doing this whole journey, seeing what’s along the border,” Barber said. “There’s a large detention center in Calexico where people are picked up and they’re detained then they are dropped off at the bus station. We’ve heard these stories and it’s easier for me to talk to people about the border if I’ve seen it.”