Number of Migrants Stopped at Mexico-US Border Falls to 40-Year Low

The number of immigrants arrested on the U.S. border with Mexico has reached a 40 year low, with only 305,000 individuals arrested in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2011.

Apprehensions on the border reached their peak of 1.5 million a year in 1999, after which they returned to the average of approximately one million per year seen throughout the 1990s. The number of arrests by Border Patrol have been declining from that average since 2006, and arrests in 2011 are approaching their lowest level since 1972, evidence that immigration from Mexico has slowed dramatically.

The Border Patrol cites the increased role of technology and number of agents assigned to the border as effectively deterring illegal immigration. The tightened security implemented by the Border Patrol in the wake of September 11, 2001, shifted illegal immigration routes out of cities and into more remote areas, which has increased the involvement of criminal groups in the human smuggling market.