By Aileen B. Flores / EL PASO TIMES
Posted: 01/17/2012 02:08:45 PM MST

David Aguilar, the newly appointed acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, speaks during a press conference Tuesday in El Paso.

David Aguilar, acting commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, visited El Paso Tuesday to meet with law enforcement agents.

This is Aguilar's first visit to the El Paso sector as acting commissioner. He was appointed to the position on Dec. 30.

During his visit, Aguilar provided a report of improvements made in the Southwest border last year and talked about the waiting times at the ports of entry.

He said the El Paso sector was one of the highest U.S. border crossing areas.

Aguilar said El Paso Field Operations Director Ana Hinojosa is always working to make sure CBP officers uses all the resources available to ensure that wait times are reduced on an ongoing basis.

There has been a dramatic effect as a result of some of the actions taken by the El Paso field operations, he said. One of them was the opening of the Ready Lanes in November, he said.

The Ready Lanes allows people coming into the U.S. with proper documents to cross the border faster, he said.

Aguilar said the levels of activity between the U.S.-Mexican border are the lowest in 17 years. CBP closed the year with 360,000 apprehensions.

Tucson sector, which has always had the highest level of activity of illegal immigration along the border, closed the year with people 123,000 detained. The peak year for detention in Tucson was in 2000 with more than 600,000.

Acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner visits El Paso - El Paso Times