Throughout Pinal County, there are areas with thick trees and rocks. In those areas, there are black spray painted water jugs, carpet shoes and granola bar wrapers peeking through weeds and sand. These areas are called load out spots where migrants wait to be picked up and brought further into Arizona.
Sheriff Mark Lamb and his deputies canvass these areas each day and make several traffic stops a day after the migrants get picked up.
“Every morning we come out to places like this where early in the morning you have a group of 10, 20 or 30 people here waiting to be picked up,” he said. “We are the last pass before they make it into Phoenix, Maricopa County and who knows where from there.”
The transport of the migrants, he said, happens illegally. He said his department has noticed an exponential increase of drug trafficking and smuggling in the country and community over the last two years.
“We’re doing traffic stop after traffic stop of vehicles where they’ve hired children that are 16 or 17 years old, and people from out of state, to come in and transport these people illegally,” he said.
He believes many people, including politicians, don’t truly understand the issues happening at the border.
“We feel a strong responsibility to be that last line of defense from people being trafficked, especially people being trafficked by the cartels,” he said.
He said politicians downplay the border situation and don’t want to expose the reality of the border.
“I hear politicians talking about us separating kids from their parents,” he said. “But the reality is that we’ve caught over a 130,000 unaccompanied minors last year..”
He believes there should be more support from the government by passing common sense border legislation.
“The federal government failed to pass common sense immigration laws so it is broken,” he said. “And they’re taking advantage of it the cartels are taking advantage of it.”
He said he and his deputies will continue to do their part to make the community safer and secure the border.
“I hope that we can work together bipartisan to figure out solutions to this but also give CBP and border patrol the tools to actually keep the area safe,” Lamb said.