Mexican Border Arrests Hit 30-Year Low

Recession, enforcement keep Mexicans at home
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2008 3:54 PM CST
A man planning to cross into the US illegally stands near the dry concrete-lined Tijuana River basin, on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border, Aug. 16, 2008.   (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
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(Newser) – The number of people trying to sneak into the US appears to be plummeting, thanks to tougher enforcement and the beleaguered US economy, USA Today reports. Just 705,000 people were caught trying to sneak in from Mexico in fiscal 2008, the lowest total since 1976. “We're definitely making it tougher on them,” said one Border Patrol official. “I'm not telling you that we've won the war, but we are making headway.”

Homeland Security has added 6,000 Border Patrol agents since 2006 and built 526 miles of fence since 2007. But the economy may be even more instrumental in the drop. “Word gets back to Mexico really fast what the job opportunities are or are not,” said one expert. “It's risky and expensive to try to get to the US, so it's beginning to discourage people.”