LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles International Airport has become ground zero for an effort to disrupt the flow of illegal immigrants (search) into the United States and to crack down on human smuggling.
U.S. border agents are now in full uniform on patrol at the airport, looking for people who help transport illegal immigrants into the country. Immigration officials say this is part of a larger effort to secure the border (search) but critics say it amounts to nothing more than election-year politics.
"The reality is that those raids will not fix the problem because the system is broken and as long as we have the need for employers who hire immigrant workers the workers will come to the United States because there are jobs and the coyotes will take advantage of that," said Angela Sanbrano, executive director of the Central American Resource Center and a member of the board at the National Immigration Forum (search).
Since the program began last week, 170 suspected illegal immigrants have been arrested at the airport; officials say only three of them are considered to be possible smugglers. There are other sweeps going on at drop houses around downtown Los Angeles.
Last year, a similar crackdown focused on Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Officials believe the smugglers have now shifted their operations to Los Angeles.
Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Anita Vogel.