NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Funds for Border Control Have Resulted in More Illegals Here

July 17, 2002

Despite a tripling of the U.S. border control budget since 1995, the total number of unauthorized immigrants residing in the U.S. is at an all-time high. That is the conclusion of a report by the San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute of California.

If fact, the report speculates, the greater numbers of border patrol agents may be contributing to the larger population of illegals in the U.S.

  • The annual budget for border control now stands at more than $2.5 billion.
  • Today's record population of illegals in the U.S. amounts to between seven and nine million.
  • Mexican immigrants -- which make up the majority of illegals -- are less likely to return to Mexico, and those who do return do so after longer stays here, the report says.
  • The increase in border control manpower has forced would-be Mexican migrants further from large cities such as San Diego and El Paso -- and many now try to enter from isolated crossing posts in the desert.

Illegals are increasingly using the services of smugglers, or coyotes as they are called, to gain entry. The services of these guides can cost between $1,500 and $5,000. And more of those seeking entry are dying in the process -- more than 200 in 2001, up from 57 in 1994.

In the period 1987-92, 54 percent of illegals returned to Mexico after stays in the U.S. averaging 10 months. During 1995-2000, only 25 percent of illegals returned, while the average stay of those who returned home grew to 16 months.

Source: Joel Millman, "Beefed-Up Border Patrolling Fails to Curb Illegal Entry," Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2002.


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