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Crossings Down at Border With Mexico

March 19, 2012
Plain English Version

Nogales U.S. Mexico Border Station

By every measure, fewer migrants are crossing the border between Mexico and the United States.

In 2005, about 1.1 million migrants were caught crossing the border. In 2011, the number was 340,000.

The number of federal raids on “drop houses” in Phoenix, Arizona went from 186 in 2008 to 51 last year. About 3,200 migrants were arrested in 2008 compared to 800 in 2011.

The police chief in Mesa, Arizona said only 2 percent of the people arrested were suspected of being illegal migrants.

The sheriff of Luna County said he now arrests eight illegal migrants a day versus 300 a day about three years ago.

In 2010 Border Patrol agents turned over more than 300 crossers to Cochise County because they were wanted for crimes in the United States. Last year the number went down to seven.

Problems include more migrants arrested carrying backpacks loaded with marijuana or methamphetamine. Officials also reported an increase in assaults on federal officers along the Arizona border.

The government said progress would continue because less migrants mean more agents and equipment can be used to monitor the border. But officials warned that an improvement in the U.S. economy would draw people to try and cross the border without papers.

The New York Times


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