CBP News Release

Tucson Sector Makes Significant Gains in 2008

Border Patrol Agents Continue to Make Progress with New Technology, Tactical Infrastructure and Increased Manpower

October 22, 2008

Tucson, Ariz. - CBP Border Patrol released year-end numbers that reveal the effectiveness of the historic improvements in enforcement techniques and infrastructure that have assisted in gaining greater operational control of our Nation’s borders in Arizona.

The sustained trend of quality enhancements including additional manpower, growing infrastructure and improved technology have allowed the Tucson Sector agents to expand border security, reducing the number of apprehensions at the borders by 16 percent compared with fiscal year 2007. Tucson Sector agents apprehended 317,696 illegal aliens that attempted to circumvent enforcement efforts at the border and interior checkpoints. Of those arrested, 12,267 were from countries other than Mexico.

Tucson Sector agents continue to lead the nation in marijuana seizures accounting for more than 50 percent of all the marijuana seized nationwide. Tucson Sector agents seized a staggering 816,402 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $649 million, an eight percent decrease compared with fiscal year 2007. Agents also seized 265 pounds of cocaine, 61 ounces of heroin and 23 pounds of methamphetamine.

Border Patrol checkpoints had a significant impact on the narcotic smuggling infrastructure. Seizures at the checkpoints increased by 63 percent with 29,813 pounds of marijuana seized. This is a dramatic increase from the fiscal year 2007 total of 18,979 pounds. The majority of the seizures occurred at the Interstate 19 checkpoint with over 18,000 pounds, proving yet again that checkpoints are a vital piece in the multi-layered defense-in-depth national strategy that is used by the Border Patrol.

Significant progress has been made with tactical infrastructure. Tucson Sector has added 25 miles of border fencing increasing the total to 58 miles, 16 miles of all-weather roads have been added increasing the total to 78 miles and 11 miles of temporary vehicle barriers have been built increasing the total to 39 miles. This has allowed agents to gain greater control of the border, maintain the current levels of effectiveness and expand operations, thwarting attempts by smuggling organizations to enter our country.

The enforcement efforts have also allowed agents to continue their life saving operations while reducing migrant deaths in Arizona. Tucson Sector agents were able to save 443 illegal aliens from certain death after being abandoned by their smugglers, while reducing the number of deaths by 17 percent, from 202 in fiscal year 2007 to 167 in fiscal year 2008. Without the efforts of these agents, hundreds more could have died in the unforgiving deserts of Arizona.

In fiscal year 2008, Tucson Sector partnered with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Justice, and the Mexican government in a combined prosecution and removal effort in an attempt to break the smuggling cycle in Tucson Sector. Enhanced enforcement operations allowed Tucson Sector to increase its prosecution rates by an incredible 86 percent and reduce recidivism rates by more than 50 percent.

In an effort to prevent illegal aliens from falling back into the cycle of the smuggler, Tucson Sector contributed to local and national programs that allowed agents to safely remove thousands of illegal aliens through humanitarian efforts that prevented smugglers from taking advantage of persons who wanted to return home.

Through the Mexican Interior Repatriation Program 18,643 illegal aliens were voluntarily returned to their homes in the interior of Mexico, effectively removing them from the dangerous Sonoran Desert environment and separating them from the smuggling organizations that would take advantage of them.

The Alien Transfer Exit Program safely returned 5,830 illegal aliens through ports of entry in California. This program safely removed aliens from the waiting hands of the smugglers who would certainly force them to endure several days in the harsh environment in another attempt to illegally cross the border only to face certainty of arrest by Border Patrol agents.

Under the Arizona Denial Prosecution Initiative, 9,563 illegal aliens were successfully prosecuted sending a clear message that there will be consequences for entering illegally into Arizona. ADPI assures that each defendant prosecuted faces a sentence of up to 180 days in jail, a formal removal and a ban on legal re-entry to the United States for five years.

The Quick Court initiative worked to ease the caseload strain the traditional Immigration Judge faces. A process has been implemented to expedite the formal removal proceedings of illegal aliens arrested within Tucson Sector, providing additional avenues to maintain effective levels of successful prosecution independent of those handled by the United States Attorney’s Office for Arizona. To date, 843 cases have been prosecuted under this initiative within the Sector.

As Tucson Sector agents gain operational control, the smugglers frustration has increased to unprecedented levels. Two hundred sixty one agents were assaulted in 2008. This represented a 29 percent increase from fiscal year 2007 were only 202 assaults were reported. Agents were subjected to 177 rocking assaults, 51 physical assaults, and 24 assaults with vehicles. Agents faced nine assaults by gunfire during this fiscal year.

The Tucson Sector continues to make progress towards the goal of increasing the quality of life in our communities and safety along our border. This is being accomplished by implementing the right combination of manpower, infrastructure and technology.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Contacts For This News Release

Tucson Sector
Public Affairs Office
Phone: (520) 748-3210

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/new ... 2008_7.xml