Is enforcement or the economy the reason for the apprehension rate declining at the southern borders?
We all know or are at least aware of the 670 miles of fencing that will go along the southern border to deflect the entry of illegal immigrants, vehicles and drugs. While we have not yet hit the complete installation of the 670 miles, it appears to be well under way with the end in sight within a year. Border Patrol officers have been increased and their numbers will be even higher over the year. In fact there are now 16,690 agents with the total to hit about 18,000 later on.
Add into this ever-increasing force Project 28 (P-28) and the combination of watchful technology and more agents should work even more effectively to deal with those trying to cross the border illegally. This system has been in place since 2007 and is responsible for apprehending over 3,500 illegal aliens.
It appears that security already in place is doing its job and the apprehension rates are beginning to decline. The question becomes, is the rate declining because of the stepped up security or because of the desperate economy the nation faces? This is an interesting question when put into the perspective of the federal government’s commitment of $775 million to enhance border security. This is largely to finance an unmanned aircraft system and support the installation of over 10,000 ground sensors.
The government is of the opinion that their crackdown has made a difference in the number of cross border apprehensions. They cite some interesting figures that indicate that may be the case. For instance, the Border Patrol indicated a 20% decline on the southern border for 2007. In 2008 the figures showed a 17% decline on the southwest border.
As further evidence of their border security success, the feds also point out remittances to the Bank of Mexico fell dramatically in the first four months of 2009 – down 2.4% from last year. This is supposed to indicate that apprehending illegal workers has made the rates drop.
While this may be an interesting theory, and there may be a nugget of truth in it, it would appear the real reason for the decline in apprehensions is fewer people are trying to go over the border, as opposed to more being caught. Why would this be?
It you spend any time online reading financial information about the economy and the recession, you will immediately know that the U.S. started showing distinct signs of being in economic distress in 2007. Think the housing market boom and things of that nature. The economy was bright and booming, but if you correctly read the signals – whatever goes up, must come down, and down the economy came.
Who in their right mind would try to illegally cross a border to find a job in an economy where those who already live there are losing their jobs, where companies are going out of business daily and where bankruptcies are higher than ever? The obvious answer to that would be not many, and this would explain the decline in border apprehensions. When the economy revives, look to the border once again.
Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more about immigration lawyer in miami, immigration lawyer in orlando, immigration lawyer in florida, visit Rifkinandfoxisicoff.com.