Border Agencies Having Trouble Keeping Up With Trafficking on Federal Lands

Border Agencies Having Trouble Keeping Up With Trafficking on Federal Lands

Congressional Quarterly -- December 8
The rate of illegal entries into federal lands along the U.S.-Mexico border has outstripped the pace of Border Patrol apprehensions in those areas -- and the threat shows no sign of abating, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office .
"Border Patrol threat assessments showed that tribal lands, a national forest, wildlife refuges, a conservation area, and national parks in the Tucson sector continue to be high-risk areas for cross-border threats related to marijuana smuggling and illegal migration," said the report, adding that "Border Patrol data show that the number of apprehensions of illegal entrants has not kept pace with the number of estimated illegal entries."
The GAO reviewed Border Patrol data from fiscal 2007 to 2009 for the area near Tucson, Ariz., the biggest entry point for smugglers and illegal immigrants, finding that the number of apprehensions decreased 42 percent. The estimated number of illegal entries also dropped -- comporting with a recent trend of falling border crossings in the Southwest -- but only by 14 percent.
"Specifically, these data for 2009 show that while Border Patrol agents apprehended over 91,000 illegal aliens on federal lands, the Border Patrol estimated close to three times as many more illegal entries on federal lands," the report said.

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