Border Patrol reports fewer apprehensions

October 02, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The U.S. Border Patrol ended fiscal 2001 Sunday reporting a sharp drop in apprehensions for the year as compared to the previous year.

Agents of the Border Patrol El Centro sector apprehended 172,862 immigrants for the year. That is about 27 percent fewer than fiscal 2000.

The Border Patrol's fiscal year starts Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30.

Drug seizures in the sector for the year included 15,841 pounds of marijuana and 925 pounds of cocaine. There were no heroin seizures.

Border Patrol officials have attributed the reduction in apprehensions in part to a policy of forward deployment, which calls for placing all agents along the border.


They also have said there may be fewer people attempting to cross the border because they have hopes in the administration of Mexican President Vicente Fox.

While the forward deployment policy means if undocumented immigrants make it beyond the border they may make it through the Valley, officials have said the policy works.

Officials have said new technology, specifically cameras polls overlooking the border, have served to cut illegal border crossing.

Of fiscal 2002, officials have said it will be a time of change for the El Centro sector.

The coverage area of the sector has been reorganized to reduce the area the El Centro station must patrol.

Agents assigned to that station are now responsible for the border from just west of Calexico to the San Diego County line.

Previously, agents assigned to the El Centro station had to cover the entire desert from the eastern portion of the county to the San Diego County line.

Under the new coverage setup, agents in the Calexico station will be responsible for covering the area from Calexico to Grays Well in the eastern desert.

Officials have said they hope the new patrol areas will lead to a decline in deaths and to a continued reduction in apprehensions.

They also expect to receive more agents and more cameras to place along the border.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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