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Arrests Along Border Fewest In 40 Years

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Arrests Along Border Fewest In 40 Years

Arrests Along Border Fewest In 40 Years

Photo by Ruxandra Guidi

A view of Smugglers' Gulch, on the Mexican side of the San Diego-Tijuana border wall. In the Eighties and Nineties, the area was a major crossing point for undocumented immigrants.

SAN DIEGO -- One month before the end of fiscal year 2010-2011, the Border Patrol reports that 447,000 migrants crossing illegally were arrested along the Southwest border. That number showed a serious decline from the average of more than a million arrests in the mid-1980s and '90s.

Speaking on C-SPAN last month, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin credited the beefed up security along the border for the decrease in arrests.

"Apprehensions are the most coherent statement of what has happened on the border from 1993 to 2011," said Bersin. "The change is obvious in the equipment, personnel, infrastructure and technology that's available."

Observers of immigration patterns between the two countries argue the recession in the U.S. is also largely responsible for the decline in arrests.

According to border officials, the Tucson area still sees the highest annual number of arrests of illegal border crossers -- about 212,000 this year.