Farmers at the southern border are warning that the country’s food security is in jeopardy after the gaps in the U.S.-Mexico border wall have allowed migrants to trespass on farmland and contaminate crops, Fox News reported.
Two farmers in Yuma, Arizona, told the news outlet that the open border has led to a “food safety concern.”
From November through March, Yuma supplies 90% of the nation’s supply of leafy vegetables, according to the Department of Agriculture. The city generates around 9 billion servings of leafy vegetables per year. However, area farmers say the large gaps in the border wall threaten food production.
Former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) attempted to close the holes in the wall by placing shipping containers along the border. The federal government responded to the state’s action by filing a lawsuit against Arizona. The shipping containers were removed in early January, leaving the gaps open again.
According to Customs and Border Protection data, migrant crossings in Yuma increased by 171% between 2021 and 2022. During the Biden presidency, roughly 1 million migrants have crossed Arizona’s southern border.
Hank Auza, a fifth-generation farmer with land in Yuma, told Fox News, “Where the gaps are opens up to more farm ground for them to walk across.”
“This is the largest humanitarian disaster we’ve had in this country,” Auza said. “And part of the country is happy that it’s happening. I don’t get why.”
When an unauthorized person trespasses on farmland, farmers are forced to destroy the crops in that area in case they are contaminated with pathogens that could lead to illness.
Auza explained that a neighboring farmer had to destroy 10 acres of celery after a group of 30 migrants lived on the field for a week. Auza said that as a result, the farmer lost approximately $100,000.
“Now you start failing food safety audits, and there is no insurance in the produce business … so you eat that,” Auza said.
Pasquinelli Produce Company President Alex Muller told Fox News that the open gaps in the border wall have caused more migrants to trespass on farmland, which “hits the bottom line” and is “not good for the country.”
“There’s obviously a food safety concern because our fields are monitored and audited and tested for different pathogens,” Muller stated. “If there’s somebody that walks into our field and then we don’t know about why, we put up flags and kind of mark it out and we don’t harvest that.”
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