‘It’s a cluster,’ Sheriff Leon Wilmot told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.
He said Border Patrol detained about 1200 people on Wednesday and were on course to do the same again on Thursday.
It was part of an expected surge of arrivals by migrants as the U.S. relaxes a tough public health restriction that meant millions of arrivals could be immediately expelled without even making asylum claims.
On Thursday, Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls demanded that President Joe Biden declare a national emergency at the southern border.
‘It’s a cluster,’ Yuma Sheriff Leon Wilmot told DailyMail.com Thursday in an exclusive interview about the end of Title 42. He and his county are in the frontline of the border crisis
Hours before Title 42 was lifted, hundreds of migrants lined up on U.S. soil in Yuma to begin the process of applying for asylum. Numbers have surged in recent days
And Wilmot said the lack of preparation meant President Joe Biden was unable to enforce existing border laws and said overwhelmed authorities in nearby Cochise County were already releasing people on to the streets without proper processing or court dates.
He reserved particular fury for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and claims that the U.S. was toughening its response.
‘Any good leader that was facing this kind of situation would have stood up Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), got emergency funding for ICE, put up shelters in their temporary buildings to accommodate all this, so proper processing could be done,’ he said.
‘He did none of this. So he doesn’t have a plan.
‘His plan is obviously intentionally to just allow everybody into this country and try to track down that many millions of people years down the road.
‘It’s a false narrative that this administration is pushing to the American people.’
On Thursday morning, the extent of the surge was evident in Yuma even before the sun came up. More than 300 people waited in line to register with Border Patrol officers as buses pulled up and departed filled with migrants.
Many were from Peru. But the arrivals included people from China, Georgia, Uzbekistan, and the African nation of Mauritania.
Hundreds of people lined up close to the border wall in Yuma, Arizona on Thursday. The area has seen about 1200 people detained on both Wednesday and Thursday
A stream of new arrivals pictured after they crossed on to U.S. soil. They are making their way to join the line of migrants waiting to be processed in Yuma on Thursday morning
Wilmot said that made for a security risk not just for his community but communities across the country that had advertised themselves as sanctuary cities.
Some 4,000 people he said were currently in custody in Yuma, far more than the capacity of local agencies.
Wilmot has been sheriff of Yuma since 2013, putting him in the frontline of the crisis.
The county has long known as a favorite crossing point, with cartels directing people to the border here for a fee.
The sheriff had been patroling along the border late Wednesday night and suffered a puncture to his Ford Raptor truck.
Wilmot spoke to DailyMail.com at a tire shop. His truck suffered a flat as he toured the border on Wednesday evening. He was preparing to get out again on Thursday night
DailyMail.com caught up with him as he had a new tire fitted the following day and prepared for the end of Title 42.
‘This is on this administration,’ said Wilmot. ‘The president needs to enforce the rule of law. Period.
‘It’s just totally aggravating to see a lack of leadership at the highest level of government.
Sheriffs, he added, were stepping up as much as they could.
‘We’re doing our job. I’ve already told my guys if they trespass on somebody’s property arrest them.
‘There’s gonna be 100 percent prosecution for anyone that breaks state law.’
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas explained Thursday that the end of Title 42 meant migrants would now be processed under Title 8
Earlier Mayorkas insisted that new arrivals would not receive softer treatment with the end of Title 42. It simply meant migrants would now be processed under Title 8 and a new regulation that meant most people could only enter if they had booked an appointment with an app, he added.
‘Here’s what that means,’ he said. ‘If anyone arrives at our southern border after midnight tonight, they will be presumed ineligible for asylum and subject to steeper consequences for unlawful entry, including a minimum five-year ban on reentry and potential criminal prosecution.’
Don’t listen to the people offering you a path to the promised land, he added.
‘Know this: Smugglers care only about profits not people,’ he said.