Photo: Border Security
Border security is a crucial part of the immigration overhaul creeping forward on Capitol Hill—as it was during Washington’s last, doomed attempt to tackle the issue. But in the seven years since, the security situation along the U.S.-Mexico border has been transformed.
The government has built 651 miles of fencing along the border—about three times what existed six years ago. The U.S. now operates hundreds of remote cameras, more than 13,000 ground sensors and five drones in the area. And the number of Border Patrol agents deployed along the border has doubled in the last decade, to more than 18,000.
hose steps, together with the sluggish American economy and record-high deportations, have slowed the flood of people trying to enter the U.S. illegally to a relative trickle: In each of the last two years, the Border Patrol caught fewer people than it had since 1971. For the federal fiscal year that ended in October, the agency stopped migrants nearly 365,000 times, compared to nearly 1.2 million apprehensions in 2005.
“The border is now better than it has ever been,” according to Janet Napolitano, homeland security secretary and former governor of Arizona.
But the current border-state governors—three of four are Republicans—say the federal government must do more.