Arizona farmers are warning that illegal alien traffic through farmland is contaminating crops and threatening the nation’s food security.
The border crisis is putting the nation’s food security in danger, two Arizona farmers with fields near the southern border told Fox News in an exclusive.
President Joe Biden promised Arizona residents earlier this month that he would uphold stricter immigration policies ahead of his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border recently, after ordering the former governor, Doug Ducey, to demolish a wall built by state authorities.
“There’s obviously a food safety concern, because our fields are monitored and audited and tested for different pathogens,” Alex Muller, president of the Pasquinelli Produce Company, told Fox News.
Muller’s farmland is right on the U.S.-Mexico border, and he has complained that the unfinished border wall begun under former President Donald Trump and canceled under Biden in 2021 has allowed a migrant influx that jeopardizes food safety.
Ducey ordered the construction of the temporary container wall last August to plug the holes in the unfinished wall, but then agreed to remove it in January as a result of a federal lawsuit brought by the White House.
Arizonan authorities will have to work in conjunction with officials from the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to protect their residents and their property, according to the settlement with the administration.
“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.”
“That hits the bottom line,” said Muller. “It’s not sustainable. It’s not good for the country.”
Yuma, Arizona, is the largest agricultural producer of leafy green vegetables in the country during the winter, and provides about 90 percent of the nation’s supply of romaine and iceberg lettuce, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Around nine billion servings of lettuce are grown annually from the region, but local farmers fear they will continue to lose crops while Washington allows uncontrolled streams of illegals to trample their produce as they pass through the gaps in the unfinished border wall into the United States.
Yuma migrant crossings skyrocketed by 171 percent between 2021 and 2022, according to the CBP, forcing many farmers to hire armed private security, reported Fox News.
Fox New also reported that the federal officials recorded that more than four million aliens attempted to cross the southern border since January 2021.
About one million illegal aliens have crossed Arizona’s southern border in the past year, with another nearly 600,000 evading the U.S. Border Patrol.
Border crossings could “easily” approach 12 million during by the end of Biden’s first term, American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry told the Daily Caller News Foundation in December.
Arizona Agriculture Swamped With Wave of Illegals Trampling and Ruining Crops
“We’ve gotten a fair amount of traffic through and around our fields and through the whole entire Yuma Valley,” local farmer Hank Auza told Fox News. He told reporters that his properties cover several thousand acres with fields near Morelos Dam, where there are major gaps in the wall.
“Where the gaps are opens up to more farm ground for them to walk across,” said Auza, “we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just on our farm for food safety.”
Auza said that a neighboring farmer lost nearly $100,000 in crops after a handful of migrants hid squatted on his land for a week.
“Now you start failing food safety audits, and there is no insurance in the produce business … so you eat that,” Auza added.
His neighbor claimed that he could not harvest the affected crops in case they were contaminated with diseases brought by the illegal aliens, which could lead to foodborne illness.
“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.”
Yuma’s agricultural production is vital to this country, Muller told Fox News. “This is produce that we’re growing for the whole country, and it should be protected,” said Muller.
He made a plea to the Biden administration to close the gaps in the border wall and start enforcing stricter immigration policies to assist the overwhelmed Border Patrol.
The CBP announced on Jan. 6 that it would finally begin to finish construction to close the holes in the border wall in Yuma this month.