The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Arizona Joint Field Command today announced that during the week of Feb. 7-13, CBP apprehended more than 2,500 undocumented aliens at and between the ports of entry and seized more than 24,000 pounds of narcotics with an estimated street value of approximately $27.2 million, more than $76,000 in illicit currency, and 9,800 rounds of ammunition.
Apprehensions in Arizona have decreased 43 percent this year to date compared to the same time period last year, signifying an overall decrease in illegal crossings.
Since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009, the Obama administration has engaged in an unprecedented effort to bring focus and intensity to Southwest border security, coupled with a reinvigorated, smart and effective approach to enforcing immigration laws in the interior of our country.
Earlier this month, CBP announced the Arizona Joint Field Command—an organizational realignment that brings together Border Patrol, Air and Marine, and Field Operations under a unified command structure to integrate CBP’s border security, commercial enforcement, and trade facilitation missions to more effectively meet the unique challenges faced in the Arizona area of operations.
The Border Patrol has doubled the number of agents from approximately 9,200 in 2000 to more than 20,700 in 2010. Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal aliens have decreased from more than 1.6 million in FY 2000 to approximately 463,000 in FY 2010—a more than 70 percent reduction.
Over the past two years, DHS has doubled the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces; increased the number of intelligence analysts working along the U.S.-Mexico border; quintupled deployments of Border Liaison Officers; deployed thousands of technology assets – including mobile surveillance units, thermal imaging systems, and large-and small-scale non-intrusive inspection equipment – at and between the ports of entry; and begun screening of southbound rail and vehicle traffic for the illegal weapons and cash that are helping to fuel the cartel violence in Mexico.
As a result of these investments, in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, CBP seized more than $104 million in southbound illegal currency – an increase of more than $28 million compared to 2007-2008. In total, CBP and ICE seized more than $282 million in illegal currency, more than 7 million pounds of drugs, and more than 6,800 weapons along the southwest border in FY 2009 and 2010 – increases of more than $73 million, more than 1 million pounds of drugs and more than 1,500 weapons compared to 2007-2008, while Border Patrol apprehensions—a key indicator of illegal immigration—have decreased 36 percent in the last two years and are less than one third of what they were at their peak; violent crime in border communities has remained flat or fallen in the past decade; and statistics have shown that some of the safest communities in America are along the border.