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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    N.M. - 'In my area, the border is secured' Task force helps land owners near Mexico

    By Reyes Mata III
    Posted: 03/18/2012 05:56:56 PM MDT

    Warning signs leave a stern message for those who trespass onto... (Deming Headlight File Photo)

    LAS CRUCES — James Johnson's family ranch sits west of Columbus, near the Mexican border.

    He remembers when hundreds of illegal travelers, masked by the nighttime darkness around his secluded property, passed from neighboring Mexico to cross his nearly 100-year-old WR Johnson and Sons ranch en route to jobs and opportunity in the United States.

    "At the worst, 500 people in a night were crossing through our property," he said.

    Now, he says, the acres of his farm are much quieter than they were at the most critical point in 2005.

    "This is the best that it's been in 30 years. In my area, the border is secured," he said.

    Johnson credits the Southwestern Border Security Task Force — started nine years ago by Sen. Jeff Bingaman to help identify border security needs — for taking the concerns of New Mexico property owners along the border and translating them into federal support.

    The task force is comprised of members from the New Mexico Border Authority, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Land Management, the New Mexico State Police, the Luna County Sheriff's Department, and property owners in border counties, according to a news release sent out when the task force was formed in 2005.

    Since then, federal funding and support for border security has increased.

    The Department of Homeland Security in 2005 pegged onto its budget an extra $4 billion to incorporate the Secure Border Initiative — a coordinated effort to
    increase the number of Customs and Border Protection agents and bolster the department's infrastructure and technology.

    Since then, the number of agents in the El Paso Sector — which covers 268 linear miles of the United States-Mexico boundary, including all of New Mexico — have more than doubled from 1,330 in 2005 to 2,738 in 2011.

    Immigrants, Border Patrol officials say, are opting out of illegal travel because "historic levels of personnel, technology and other resources" in border security enforcement are discouraging them, according to Doug Mosier, spokesperson for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    No figures are available specifically for the number of apprehensions along the Columbus area. But government figures show that the number of people trying to cross illegally — as reflected by the number of apprehensions — have dropped drastically. In 2005, government figures show that 122,679 people were arrested trying to enter the United States illegally through the El Paso Sector. Last year, only 10,345 were apprehended in the same area — a more than 90 percent drop.

    The Border Security Task Force represents a small part of the nearly 2,000-mile United States-Mexico border, but Bingaman is encouraged by its contributions.

    "In the nine years since I launched the Border Security Task Force, I believe we have made good progress," said Bingaman. "And while I'm proud of what we've achieved, there is still more work to do."

    Border security numbers

    Apprehensions in El Paso Sector, which includes New Mexico

    2005: 122,679

    2006: 122,256

    2007: 75,464

    2008: 30,312

    2009: 14,999

    2010: 12,251

    2011: 10,345

    Number of Agents in El Paso Sector

    2005: 1,330

    2006: 1,741

    2007: 2,251

    2008: 2,506

    2009: 2,712

    2010: 2,752

    2011: 2,738

    'In my area, the border is secured' Task force helps land owners near Mexico - Las Cruces Sun-News
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    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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