For First Time In Years, Most Illegal Border Crossings Shifted From Arizona To Texas

The Border Patrol said agents made more arrests along the Mexican border in Texas last year than any other place in the country, bucking a years-long trend.

The agency, the country's first line of defense against illegal crossings of immigrants and drugs, said Friday agents in Texas made 235,567 arrests in the budget year that ended in September.

For much of the last decade, Arizona had been the busiest section of the Mexican border. Agents there last year made 125,942 arrests.

In October, Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher said much of the increase was attributable to an influx of would-be immigrants from Central America who had been arrested in South Texas.

Agents nationwide made 420,789 arrests, about 414,000 along the southern border. Fisher said about 320,000 to 330,000 different people were arrested.

Border security remains an issue as Congress debates potential changes to the nation's immigration laws.

The geographical change in terms of crossing arrests could be due to the fact that the Border Patrol over the years clamped down on the desert in Arizona with an unprecedented increase of agents and equipment, forcing smugglers and their cargo to seek easier spots elsewhere.

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