Border Patrol busing more illegal immigrants
NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) — The Border Patrol is increasingly taking illegal immigrants caught in southern Arizona and busing them to Texas and California, where they are sent back to their homeland.
The government has been shipping illegal immigrants caught in Arizona, the main entry point for illegal border crossers, to other border states for several years. Last year, the number of transfers, known as lateral repatriations, skyrocketed.
From Oct. 1, 2010, through July 30, the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector transferred nearly 44,000 illegal immigrants arrested in Arizona to Texas or California. That is 128 percent more than the number transferred during all of 2010.
“What that does is break up that smuggling cycle so that they are not going to keep coming through kind of a revolving door,” said Colleen Agle, a spokeswoman for the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, which covers most of Arizona’s border with Mexico.
The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/sZ67sG ) reports Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was in Nogales on Sunday to tour part of the border on horseback. She praised the lateral transfers, calling them part of stepped-up efforts to deter illegal immigration by imposing consequences on illegal border crossers instead of simply returning them to Mexico.
“There are a number of things that all together are acting as deterrents to recidivist crossers in particular,” Napolitano said. “All those added together make it less and less appealing to try and cross this very forbidding terrain.”
Some humanitarian groups have raised concerns that the transfers separate families.
A September report by the Tucson-based humanitarian group No More Deaths found that based on interviews with more than 12,800 illegal immigrants deported by the Border Patrol, 869 family members had been removed separately, including 17 children and 41 teens. The separations often occurred after the Border Patrol transferred illegal immigrants to other states so they could be deported through ports far from where they were apprehended, the report said.