Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The Washington Post (Oct. 31) reports that the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 8 percent fewer illegal immigrants last fiscal year than the year before, reversing a two-year increase in the historically volatile benchmark, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced yesterday. Chertoff credited the drop of nearly 100,000 apprehensions largely to the Bush administration's strategy of deporting virtually all non-Mexican border crossers as fast as they are caught, deterring them and others in what had been the fastest-growing group of illegal immigrants. After quadrupling the previous four years, apprehensions of "other than Mexican" border crossers fell 57,144, or 35 percent, to 108,026 last year. The total number of apprehensions in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 was nearly 1.1 million. Click here for the full story.
It is uncertain what can be made of this latest immigration arrest data. There does not seem to be evidence that the overall undocumented immigrant population (estimated at somewhere between 11-12 million) is on the decline. Could it be that, as some studies have shown, that undocumented immigrants are coming and staying in the United States rather than moving back-and-forth as was the case before the ramping up of border enforcement?