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After A Years-Long Record Slowdown, Border Crossing Arrests Went Up In 2012

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection increased its number of agents on the border, but officials are saying that isn't the reason illegal immigration has decreased.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection increased its number of agents on the border, but officials are saying that isn't the reason illegal immigration has decreased.  (FNC)

  • Border patrol agent Jeff Mielke secures plastic handcuffs on a group of undocumented immigrants caught in the Otay Mesa Mountain Range, just east of San Diego.

    Border patrol agent Jeff Mielke secures plastic handcuffs on a group of undocumented immigrants caught in the Otay Mesa Mountain Range, just east of San Diego.  (AP)

The head of the Border Patrol said his agents made about 420,000 arrests in the budget year that ended in September, a 15 percent increase from the previous year.

It was the second consecutive year that apprehensions went up since the Border Patrol recorded a near 40-year low in arrests in 2011.

Chief Michael Fisher released the preliminary numbers Thursday at an immigration law conference. He said the arrests account for about 320,000 to 330,000 different people (many of them are Mexican repeat offenders who try to cross right back after being caught and sent back across the border).

Fisher did not say how many arrests were made along the Mexican border, though the vast majority of Border Patrol arrests do take place along that boundary.

The Border Patrol has been reporting increases in border traffic in Rio Grande Valley in South Texas since 2012. Fisher said much of the increase in arrests is due to people from countries other than Mexico crossing the southern border -- many of them young Central Americans escaping brutal gang warfare at home.

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