05.20.09

SCHUMER REVEALS ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS DOWN 27 PERCENT FROM YEAR AGO, SUGGESTING MAJOR PROGRESS IN SEALING OFF BORDER

At Senate Hearing, Border Patrol Reports That By Every Measure, Border Is More Secure Now Than Ever BeforeSchumer Says Commitment to Border Enforcement Has Been ShownNow It Is Time To Take Next Steps Towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, DC-U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (DNY), the Chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, revealed at a Senate hearing Wednesday that illegal border crossings have been cut by more than 27 percent from a year ago, a potential sign of progress in the federal government's push to secure the nation's borders.
                          
The figure, provided by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office, represents a reduction in the number of apprehensions of illegal migrants by U.S. personnel. Ninetyeight percent of the reduction has been experienced along the southern border. CBP officials testified that the drop can be attributed not only to the economic recession in the United States, but also to real gains made by the government's border security forces. Schumer concurred.
 
"Part of this can be explained by the economic downturn in the US, but we should also not overlook the gains made by our border enforcement efforts. By several measures, the border is far more secure than it has ever been, and with our help, will soon be even more secure. It is now time for balanced, fair, and tough immigration reform," Schumer said.
 
A breakdown of the apprehension statistics appears below. On Wednesday, Schumer said the 27percent reduction in illegal crossings is supported by Mexican census data released in a published news report last week. Also, in addition to the overall 27percent drop in illegal migration since 2008, apprehensions at the USCanadian border are down 13 percent over the same period.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FY08
Southwest Border
Northern Border
Coastal Borders
YTD Total
 
Apprehensions
474,289
4,730
7,716
486,735
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FY09
Southwest Border
Northern Border
Coastal Borders
YTD Total
 
Apprehensions
345,468
4,095
5,396
354,959
 
 
 
FY08 to FY09
 
Change
 
27.1%
 
 
Beyond reporting on the decrease in border crossings, David Aguilar, Chief of the Border Patrol, testified about significant progress that has been made on other border enforcement measures undertaken since 2005. For instance, Chief Aguilar stated that as of April 2009, there were 18,945 Border Patrol agents, compared to just 11,264 agents at the end of FY2005. Aguilar added that the CBP's intention is to report a force of 20,000 agents by the end of the current fiscal year.
 
Secondly, Aguilar stated that as of earlier this month, fencing has been constructed along 625 of the 661 miles of the Southwest border that has been identified by CBP as requiring persistent impedance.  Most of the remaining mileage is under construction and will be complete this spring, Aguilar said. When Schumer asked whether the reduction in crossings along the Rio Grande mirrored the 27percent drop seen along the terrestrial border, Aguilar responded positively. "Absolutely, and in some cases, it's even higher," he said, suggesting a physical barrier was not necessary along the river.
 
With respect to technology, Aguilar reported that the CBP has purchased 40 mobile surveillance systems (MSSs) and deployed them to the southwest border. Aguilar testified that this equipment serves as a critical "gapfiller" along the border.
 
Altogether, top border officials said at the hearing Wednesday, increased border security is successfully deterring illegal immigration. Schumer noted that based on the testimony heard Wednesday, many of the border security metrics established during Congress' 2006 debate on immigration reform have been met.
 
"For years now, opponents of immigration reform have continually promised that they will engage in a conversation about immigration reform once Congress showed it was serious about securing the border," Schumer said. "That showing has clearly been made."
 
# # #



Previous Article Next Article