Monday, August 21, 2006

U.S.-Mexican Border More Secure

The U.S. efforts to bar illegal immigrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexican border "have made the boundary impenetrable for many". Recent stepped-up patrols, more barriers and high-tech monitoring have made the border harder to cross and appears to be discouraging people from attempting it. From May 15, when President Bush announced the deployment of National Guard troops on the border, to July 23, the number of apprehensions for illegal crossings dropped 25 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the paper.Those who are turned back are often less physically fit and middle-aged. "They freeze from fright atop fences. They hurt themselves on nighttime journeys through gully-rutted terrain. They run too slowly to elude Border Patrol agents who spot them with remote cameras," said the paper. Up to eight percent of about 1,000 migrants failed to cross the border, according to a recent study by researchers from the University of California in San Diego. Wayne Cornelius, who directed the study, said tens of thousands of people fail every year to make it to the United States. But he and other experts disagree with the Border Patrol's contention that migration has slowed significantly. "If you hire the right [smuggler] and are willing to accept the higher degree of physical risk, you can get through," Cornelius said. "But the older people are less tolerant of the kind of risks that young men are willing to take." As America's vast frontier with Mexico remains a highly porous landscape, hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants still manage to cross the border annually, experts said.