Border crossingsSharp increase in border crossings in 2012

Published 4 March 2013

There has been a sharp rise in border crossings into the United States, both legal and illegal, in 2012, giving ammunition to lawmakers who insist that the issue of border security should be addressed as a condition for an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

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There has been a sharp rise in border crossings into the United States, both legal and illegal, in 2012, giving ammunition to lawmakers who insist that the issue of border security should be addressed as a condition for an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system. Fox News reports that legal pedestrian crossings went up by 703,094 between 2011 and 2012. The most popular points of entry include San Ysdiro, California from Tijuana, Mexico and El Paso, Texas from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Fox News notes that the Obama administration has allocaed more personnel, technology, and resources to border patrol than any previous administration. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has increased its patrol by more than 80 percent in South Texas alone since 2004.

CBP has transformed the way it does business on the land borders of the United States,” Kevin McAleenan, CBP Office of Field Operations Acting Assistant Commissioner told Fox News. “We’ve deployed cutting-edge technology – ranging from mobile devices to RFID scanners – on the front lines, enabling our officers to facilitate the entry of legitimate travel and trade quickly, efficiently, and, most importantly—securely.”   

For Mexican officials, the increase in patrol is a welcome sight. In the past two years there has been a significant drop in violence and murders in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, giving officials enough time to bring state and federally funded work projects to the area. One result of the lessening of violence and increase in economic activity has been the decision by  many residents  to stay in the area instead of crossing into the United States.

“Many people from southern Mexico on their way to cross illegally into the U.S. have decided to stay in Juarez and get work,” Juarez Mayor Hector Murguia told Fox News. “The economy in Juarez right now is actually better than what it is in the U.S. so people want to stay here.”

When it comes to illegal crossings, things are not as positive.

Illegal apprehensions along the border between 2011 and 2012 have increased by 29,296. In South Texas alone, apprehensions rose more than 60 percent from 2011 to 2012, but according to the border patrol, 49,939 of the people who were apprehended are from Central American countries, not Mexico.

The Rio Grande Valley Sector near McAllen, Texas has seen an increase in violence from Ciudad Juarez to Tamaulipas state, as those areas are key to the Los Zetas and Gulf drug cartels and a popular route for immigrants to get into the United States.

Apprehensions in the United States, however,  are down by 50 percent from 2008. The Tucson sector of the border saw the highest number of apprehensions with 120,000, but still a drop off of more than 3,000 from the last  year, and considerably less that the 317,696 apprehensions recorded in 2008.

Representative Mike McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee,  is still concerned about how immigrants are getting across the border and is convinced the border is not safe.

“While the Administration has claimed successes in stopping illegal crossings, the fact remains apprehensions have once again increased,” McCaul said. “Until the Administration creates a comprehensive border security plan that includes a reasonable definition of operational control we can measure, we cannot quantify success or failure,” McCaul added. “My overriding goal is to prevent repeating this debate ten years from now.”

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