California Border Patrol apprehensions fall to historic lows

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 - 4:45 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 - 8:32 am

Twenty years ago, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended an average of 1,600 people a day crossing illegally into California. Last year, they apprehended about 125 a day -- a decline of more than 90 percent, new federal statistics show.

The figures represent a sea change in where immigrants try to cross the border illegally. In 1993, roughly half of the Border Patrol's apprehensions happened in California. By 2013, that figure had fallen to 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Instead, immigrants are trying to cross illegally into Texas. For every one immigrant apprehended at the California border in 2013, five were apprehended trying to cross into Texas.

Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher recently said that a large number of immigrants from Central American countries like Guatemala and El Salvador were fleeing poverty and gang violence and trying to enter Texas. The Border Patrol has sent additional manpower and technology to South Texas, where agents are reportedly overwhelmed.

Last year marked the second year in a row that Border Patrol apprehensions rose nationwide, though they remain far below levels seen before the recession. Apprehensions have declined seven years in a row in California.

This chart shows U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions in California each year during the last two decades.

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