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Video: Hundreds of migrants climb wall to cross into Arizona

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(NewsNation) — In the wee hours of Thursday, hundreds of migrants from countries including Russia, Peru, Cuba and Colombia navigated through the desert with help from a man who appeared to be a smuggler and climbed a wall to cross into Yuma, Arizona. NewsNation’s Ali Bradley and her crew were there to capture the scene.

Within a span of 2.5 hours — between 1:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. — NewsNation observed three groups totaling about 300 people cross over into the United States to be “apprehended” and processed by Border Patrol agents.

AZ: View shows migrants crossing into Yuma, fist bumping and thanking the smuggler after handing him money:

— Ali Bradley (@AliBradleyTV) December 22, 2022

A man accompanied the groups, and some handed him money. A few women told NewsNation they’d paid $20 to the man to get help with crossing.

In the darkness, NewsNation saw vehicle after vehicle line up and unload people along a road in Mexico. Roughly 30 minutes later, a guided group of men, women and children, led by the man thought to be a smuggler, emerged from the bushes and began to scale a rock wall dividing the two countries.

In one scene, an adult carries a child up the rocks as lights flash behind them.

After crossing into the U.S., the migrants formed a line and walked along the border wall toward Border Patrol agents who were waiting to apprehend and process them.

A Russian national who crossed with the groups told NewsNation he was fleeing his war-torn country and the oppressive regime of President Vladimir Putin. The man, known only as Jahsir to NewsNation, said he left a good job and life behind in Russia because he no longer felt safe in his home country.

“In our country is a bad situation, not only for war, (but also) politically, religiously, so we decided to come here,” said Jahsir, a Muslim.

To get to the crossing point from Tijuana, Jahsir told NewsNation he used a rideshare service.

“I (paid) a little bit more than usual and he helped me here,” said Jahsir, who plans to apply for political asylum.

Facilities across the southern border are filled to the brim — and Yuma is no exception. The sector is seeing around 1,500 apprehensions daily, according to Border Patrol sources who talked to NewsNation.

AZ: We watched as 300+ migrants from Russia, Peru, Cuba & Colombia crossed into Yuma with the help of a smuggler—Even handing him money and fist bumping him.

Vehicle after vehicle lined up and unloaded along the road in Mexico and moments later groups emerged from the brush…

— Ali Bradley (@AliBradleyTV) December 22, 2022