LOS ANGELES – While much of the War on Terror has focused on overseas efforts, one area where the increased security has paid off is Arizona's border with Mexico.
The Arizona Border Control Initiative (search) (ABC), which was launched in March, is upgrading equipment and adding manpower. Hundreds of additional agents have been assigned to the region and unmanned aerial vehicles assist in patrolling the difficult terrain.
In the last seven months, more than 350,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended, marijuana seizures have doubled to more than 176 tons and more than 2 tons of cocaine have been confiscated at the border — compared to only 86 pounds last year.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge (search) said the government has done more in the last 18 months than in the previous 10 years, but cautioned, "We still have a way to go."
However, some environmental advocates are not pleased with the ABC Initiative and are concerned the government is ignoring the risks illegal immigrants are taking to avoid detection and the effect that the increased border patrol is having on endangered species.
Jenny Neeley, a program associate with Arizona Defenders of Wildlife (search), said, "Our policy does not stop people from coming into this country. It moves the places where they cross — they used to cross in urban areas, now they're crossing in the desert. It's killing them and it's destroying the environment."
While it's true that illegal immigrants are still slipping across the border by the millions and drugs continue to be a problem in the U.S., Ridge reiterates that progress is still being made.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Anita Vogel.