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San Diego Border Patrol Chief addresses migrants camping out near San Ysidro

Posted at 6:56 PM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 21:56:47-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — For months, ABC 10News has been reporting on the dramatic increase in migrants crossing into San Diego.

We have been there as people from all over the world have asked for their cell phones to be charged and children have asked for food as they camp between the two border fences in San Ysidro and volunteers have stepped up to help.

Wednesday, we got a new look at the efforts of Border Patrol.

This fiscal year, agents apprehended more than 230,000 migrants that have crossed through our southern border. It's a number agents said they haven't seen in more than two decades.

Onlookers see what look like abandoned campsites filled with blankets, trash and even clothing just minutes down the road.

"Everyday is different. On any given day, there may be no migrants detained behind the wall for a period of 2 hours or there may be 200," said Nina Douglas, volunteer.

Douglas volunteers her time along our border. She feeds migrants and tends to their medical needs.

"I treated a woman who had a deep laceration in her knee. She stuck her foot through and her knee was about here," she said.

She calls where she operates from an open-air detention site.

"Well, first of all, there is nothing to shelter or cover people who are between the two border fences-border walls other than tarps or blankets that we provide. So, it's about as open-aired as you can get," said Douglas.

San Diego Sector Border Patrol Chief Patricia McGurk-Daniel says the term open-air detention site is dangerous.

She says migrants are in these areas because criminal organizations are putting them there instead of the Port of Entry.

"These are the things that keep me up at night as a chief not only for the migrants that are being put into this position by criminal organizations but also this is where my agents work," said Chief McGurk-Daniel.

She said her agents are humanitarians too.

She explained why it is sometimes taking up to three days to get migrants to processing facilities.

"It's just a massive amount of people and when people are in the middle of nowhere like we're in Spooners, right now but here her you need 4x4 vehicles," she said.

She said many times people don't see the work happening behind the scenes- agents loading babies in car seats and even feeding them in processing centers.

"There's been a lot of misinformation. There's been a lot of criticism but I'm here because I'm proud of the work that my agents do," she said.

Chief McGurk-Daniel said she will continue to advocate for more resources here in San Diego.