Amid the crisis sparked by the massive arrival in Texas of unaccompanied and undocumented children from Central America, Border Patrol commanders in Arizona say their stretch of the frontier with Mexico is the most secure in the United States, thanks to a drastic reduction in illegal crossings.
Last year was the first time in the past 22 years that Texas exceeded Arizona in numbers of migrant detentions, and this situation has increased still further with the crisis caused by the arrival of the Central American kids.
Of the 57,000 children detained so far in fiscal 2014, which began on Oct. 1, 2013, only 6,945 crossed via the Arizona-Mexico border.
In addition, 42,358 mothers with children have been detained in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, compared with 3,117 in Arizona.
“Crossing in this area has diminished quite a lot in the past 10 years,” said the Border Patrol chief in Douglas, Arizona, Alejandro Martinez, during a tour made by Efe of the frontier.
The reduction in the number of undocumented crossings along the 388 miles of the Arizona-Mexico border began over the past decade. In 2007, 426,231 immigrants were detained, a figure that contrasts with the 77,213 people detained so far in 2014.
Border Patrol commanders attribute the noteworthy decline to the government’s investment to safeguard the border, including doubling the number of agents.
“Investments have been made in personnel, infrastructure and technology. We have remote monitoring with cameras that are controlled by the operations center,” said Bryan Flowers, the Border Patrol spokesman in Tucson.
One of the main dissuading elements for those who want to cross illegally into the United States is the border barrier, which along a large part of the frontier is more than 20 feet in height, although there are places where the barrier is just five feet high.