Southwest Border Apprehensions.
Apprehensions along the southwest border increased 26 percent to 1,139,282 in 2004 from 905,065 in 2003 (see Figure 1). This was the first annual increase follow-ing the record level of 1,643,679 set in 2000 and subsequent decline (to 1,235,718 in 2001, 929,809 in 2002, and 905,065 in 2003). In 2004, southwest border apprehensions accounted for 98 percent of all Border Patrol apprehensions.
In 2004, as in every year since 1997, the Tucson, AZ sector had the largest number of apprehensions. Tucson accounted for 491,771 or 43 percent of all southwest border apprehensions in 2004. The next leading sectors were San Diego, CA (138,608), El Paso, TX (104,399), Yuma, AZ (98,060), and McAllen, TX (92,947). These five sectors accounted for 81 percent of all southwest border apprehensions.
The decline in apprehensions in 1986 is undestandable - the regularization measures passed that year. The '74 and '79-'80 downticks align with economic downturns - as does the '00 beginning to the slide that ended in '02-'03. The sharp angle of descent from '00-'02 may be the result of stiffer enforcement subsequent to 9/11 and the upturn in '03-04 may indicate a return to the steep ascent of the late '90's. It is totally unremarkable to assert that apprehensions appear to be a lagging indicator of the state of the economy.
What is rather curious is the relationship between the INS estimate of a total undocumented population of 7 million in 2000 and the media reported number of 12 million in 2006.
The last cited INS report has this to say about the press reports:
Comparison with recent estimates
Although the estimates presented here are higher than INS’ previous estimates, they are lower than other estimates that were reported last year after the release of total U.S. population figures from the 2000 Census. A Washington Post article on March 18, 2001 reported a “growing consensus that the number could…range from 9 million to 11 million or higher.”19
The estimates presented here provide strong evidence that even the 9 million figure probably was 2 million too high. The basis for that assertion can be summarized as follows:
• About 13.5 million foreign-born persons moved to the United States in the 1990 to 1999 period (2000 Census count + INS estimate of undercount);
• Based on INS data, 8.0 million of the 13.5 million were lawful residents;
• That leaves about 5.5 million unauthorized residents who entered in the 1990s;
• An estimated 1.5 million who lived here illegally in 1990 were still living here illegally in 2000;
The INS reports that the average yearly number of those avoiding apprehension for the '90's was about 350,000 with a corresponding annual number of 1,450,000 apprehensions (and deportations) for a "successful evasion" ratio of 19.5%. Applying that ratio to the average deportations from '01-'05 yields a probable increase of 1.1 million for a 2006 total count of 8.1 million. Which means that the press is exagerating the problem by 50% - another totally unremarkable assertion.
Another interesting fact cited by the INS report is that 33% of those staying in the US illegally in 2000 were 'overstays' - people who entered the US on a legal visa and didn't go home when it expired.
If there is another source of reliable numbers concerning the scope of the immigration "crisis", I have been unable to find it. There is no doubt that a problem exists in certain areas - particularly the border states and most particularly Southern California and Tucson wrt high costs and negative impact but one must remember that it is official policy in many locales to actively thwart the INS in the performance of their duties.
How else are ya gonna refill the moats around the Blue Castles?