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Border Patrol: Expedited removal program a success
Total apprehensions in Valley sector down 20 percent

The Brownsville Herald

A year after the Border Patrol implemented an expedited removal program for undocumented immigrants from select countries, total apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley sector are down 20 percent, according to the agency.

“Expedited removal has proven that it is an effective tool and ER is here to stay, because it works,” spokesman Rogelio Cervantes said. “Word has spread quickly about ER and mandatory detention, making its way to countries of origin. That serves as a deterrent factor to illegal immigration.”

Last June, the Border Patrol began expedited removal in the Valley as a way to deter other-than-Mexican (OTM) immigrants from coming through here, Cervantes said. The program sharply cut Brazilian immigration last fiscal year and this year has contributed to a 20 percent decrease in OTM apprehensions.

The program here is applied to immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru, Cervantes said. Once the immigrants are arrested and processed, they are placed in mandatory detention until they are transported directly back to their home countries. The time it takes for their return varies but is always “as soon as circumstances allow,” he said.

The 20-percent decrease in apprehensions was also attributable to manpower, technology and infrastructure, Cervantes said.

In 2006, with three-fourths of the fiscal year accounted for, OTMs account for 50 percent of total apprehensions, Cervantes said. At the close of fiscal year 2005, this percentage was 59 percent, a decrease he attributes to expedited removal.

“Expedited removal has created a ripple effect across the smuggling industry, not just with immigrants but with the smugglers themselves,” Cervantes said. “(It) is an essential border enforcement tool that has already proven to reduce the number of illegal aliens, control the borders and disrupt smuggling organizations.”

The Border Patrol deems expedited removal a successful program and one that will continued to be used as a “fair and efficient method of controlling the borders,” in the Valley.