U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are responding to help U.S. Border Patrol agents with a migrant surge on Monday. Humanitarian aid groups like the Tucson Samaritans, 317 W. 23rd St., are also working to keep up with the influx seen at the southern border.

In this past week, weve noticed an influx of people crossing, presenting themselves at the wall, presenting for asylum. Many have been hours, days in their travels. So, in the past days weve been driving the wall and providing food and water and seeing if theres any medical needs, shared Kim Rivera with the Tucson Samaritans.

Rivera said her group usually doesn’t travel to the border, but rather more remote trails. They leave food, water and other essentials in an effort to save any lives who make it past the border. In response to the surge she’s seen in Sasabe over the past week, she said her group has made adjustments.

Were hearing about it in Ajo and Yuma, many more people crossing and just much greater need right here at the wall. So, were trying to be flexible in how we respond, explained Rivera.

Her group had seen at least 150 migrants Monday morning along the border. Typically they just wait along the wall for Border Patrol to come, she added. They cleaned up after the groups that were picked up, and continued down the border.

Gail Kocourek has involved herself with the Tucson Samaritans for ten years, traveling back and forth from Tucson one to three times a week. She volunteers and connects with migrants, trying to speak to them the best she can. She made a separate trip to the border from Rivera’s group on Monday, with intentions to provide emotional support.

Its heartbreaking to see a little two-year-old looking up at you with their big brown eyes. And I just hug them. Theres a lot of tears because they finally feel like theyre safe, expressed Kocourek.

She describes how it’s often a surprise to the migrants she meets to see the support the Tucson Samaritans offer.

They dont know theres going to be people here to help them. They get told by the cartel that gets paid $10,000 from them that L.A. is a day’s walk, or they get told theres water everywhere. Then they look and theres nothing. Its shocking to a lot of people, she said.

The group plans to continue to try to meet the needs of the number of people crossing the border.