WASHINGTON (MNS) — Illegal border crossings into southern states have dropped significantly in the wake of Sept. 11, and nowhere more dramatically than in the El Centro Border Patrol sector, according to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Between Oct. 1 and Jan. 10, arrests along the El Centro sector decreased 63 percent to 13,103, as compared to 35,878 during the same period last year. That is the biggest decline of any sector on the southern border, officials said.
The decrease nationally was 49 percent.
The INS uses arrest rates as an indication of illegal cross-border traffic.
Dionicio Delgado, a Border Patrol spokesman for the El Centro sector, said the agency attributed the sector's significant drop to more than just a weak economy. He said agents were redeployed in different areas of the sector to dissuade illegal immigrants from crossing.
Before the realignment, local agents were responsible for a horseshoe-like area around the Calexico region. Now they cover only the territory east of Calexico, most importantly in areas where a year-old 24-hour video surveillance system has recorded the most illegal activity.