Illegal border crossings have declined in areas of the Tucson Sector, but they haven’t stopped.

The Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Kristie Canegallo came to the Tucson Sector on the heels of a record December at the border, when 80,000 people were apprehended.

I traveled down to Tucson to hear from our workforce,” Canegallo said.

Canegallo met with Border Patrol agents, CBP officers, and local leaders like Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and Nogales Mayor Jorge Maldonado.

“This trip was the latest in a series of trips that I’ve been doing to make sure we are providing our DHS workforce and the communities we serve, in this instance Arizonans, the support that they need,” Canegallo said.

On the morning of February 1 in Lukeville, the challenges the DHS workforce and Arizona communities are facing is still evident.

More than 100 migrants waited at the border wall for Border Patrol to come and arrest them.

One man from Ecuador said it was dangerous to get to the U.S., but not hard to find out how to cross the border.

I looked up how to cross on YouTube, and social media. I have other people I know who have done it already as well,” Abram Ortiz said.

Migrants continue to cross the border illegally, in between ports of entry, even as DHS has expanded ‘CBP One’.

‘CBP One’ is an app that allows migrants to sign up for asylum screening appointments at ports of entry.

Still, many migrants are released into the U.S. whether or not they use the app.

But Canegallo says migrants who do not come through the country by a regular pathway will have a harder time staying permanently

Someone who is coming through the CBP One app is eligible for asylum and expedited work authorization,” Canegallo said. “Where as someone coming irregularly in-between the ports of entry has a presumed ineligibility for asylum.

In Washington D.C., Canegallo says she and the entire Department of Homeland Security is asking congress for more help with the situation across the entire border.

“Our system, both on the Border Patrol side, and Office of Field Operations side has been chronically underfunded,” Canegallo said.

She added DHS is involved with the talks between bipartisan senators, including Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, on getting that funding.

Adding more employees, funding to expand detention capabilities, and asylum screeners are sorely needed.

Still with the challenges, Canegallo said she left Tucson feeling confident in the people in place in our border sector.

“The men and women are doing amazing work on the frontlines,” Canegallo said. “Arizonans should be so proud of them, they are members of your community working day and night to keep the communities safe.”