Illegal Border Crossings Down 27 Percent, Thanks to Increased Enforcement, Officials Say

May 20, 2009 - 12:35 PM
The number of people attempting to cross U.S. borders illegally has gone down 27 percent, according to federal officials.

In this April 6, 2006 file photo, a U.S. Border Patrol agent patrols along the fence line of the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Ariz. A mayor from the U.S.-Mexico border wants federal lawmakers to provide more money for border agents and dogs to help curb cross-border trafficking of drugs, guns and humans. (AP Photo/Khampha Bouaphanh, File)

Washington (AP) - The number of people attempting to cross U.S. borders illegally has gone down 27 percent, according to federal officials.
 
At a hearing on border security, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer cited reports from the Customs and Border Protection officials saying that most of the decrease has been in the number of people taken into custody as they tried to illegally enter the U.S. along the border with Mexico.
 
Schumer said that the number of people captured between Oct. 1, 2008 and May 15 this year were down 27 percent from the same period the previous year. Along the U.S-Canada border, the number was down 13 percent.
 
The New York senator said the lower demand for labor in the U.S. and stepped-up border enforcement measures are behind the decrease.
 
"The border is far more secure than it's ever been," Schumer said.
 
The Obama administration has promised to increase border security even more on the southern border to crack down on border violence and work with Mexican authorities against drug cartels. Hundreds of federal agents, along with high-tech surveillance gear and drug-sniffing dogs, are being deployed to the Southwest.