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New strategy significantly decreases number of migrants

A new strategy for the U.S. Border Patrol included doubling agents and identifying repeat crossers. The result? Apprehensions made on the Mexican border last year were down 80 percent. It was the slowest year since 1971.

The newest approach to dealing with illegal immigration uses more detailed, targeted approaches to identify migrants who continually attempt to cross into the states. Our readers in the Staten Island area may even know some of them. By identifying repeat offenders and figuring out why they keep attempting to cross, authorities can then figure out what kind of a threat they are from a national security standpoint.

The new approach also includes harsher penalties. No longer is the border patrol just turning people around and sending them home. More serious consequences are being imposed on crossers depending on where they fall into seven categories. They call it a "Consequence Delivery System" and label migrants as first-time offenders all the way up to criminals. According to the 32-page document that took two years to develop, the border patrol may still give children and those who are very ill a free pass by sending them back to Mexico at the closest crossing without being fingerprinted.

Punishments vary from state to state, but the new strategy does not include expanding physical barriers like fences. It also includes making the identification of corrupt border patrol agents a top priority.

As a result of the last major border patrol strategy, the nation spent $1 billion on a network of radars, ground sensors and cameras along the border. Resources were focused on Texas and California borders, thus forcing migrants into the deserts and mountains of Arizona.

Source: usnews.msnbc.msn.com, "Border Patrol unveils first new strategy 8 years, cracks down on Mexico's revolving door," Elliot Spagat, May 8, 2012

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