7/15/2005

Illegal Alien Terrorism Connection

Illegal border crossings and apprehensions have dropped slightly in some portions of Arizona but now are soaring in the Yuma area of Arizona and California's Imperial Valley. Tighter border security in Tucson and San Diego appears to be pushing illegal crossers into the area which is now recording a record number of illegal immigrant apprehensions. There have been 109,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions in the Yuma sector since last October. That number is up 53 percent from the same time period in 2004. It also has broken the annual record of alien apprehensions in that sector which was 108,000 in 2000. Plus, there still are a couple of months left in the current fiscal year, which will push the annual total up even more.

The U.S. Border Patrol and the federal government recently dedicated more resources to the Tucson sector in an effort to stem a tidal wave of illegal crossings that occurred in Arizona after urban border crossings in San Diego and Texas were better secured after the Minutemen Project. The result has been a decrease in Border Patrol apprehensions in the Tucson region (which covers most of Arizona) but a record jump in illegals being caught in areas near Yuma and California's Imperial Valley west of San Diego and just across the Colorado River from Arizona.

In the Tucson sector of the U.S./Mexican border, there have been 361,000 illegal immigrant arrests, which is down from 367,000 a year ago. However, the Tucson border region, which covers most of the state, is reporting that marijuana seizures are up 10 percent. Border Patrol officials credit increased manpower and resources in the Tucson region for the drop in illegal crossings as well as hot weather which has dissuaded some crossers during the summer months.

Overall, the two U.S. Border Patrol sectors covering Arizona are showing an increase in illegal immigrant apprehensions (470,000 versus 438,000 in the same time period in 2004). Illegal immigration has a huge economic and fiscal impact on the state. Illegal immigrants are a major strain on government services, hospital emergency rooms and state prisons. The unsecured border also makes Arizona a top U.S. entry point for Mexican drug cartels and crystal meth distribution. There also are worries Al-Qaeda terrorists could use Arizona as a portal into the U.S. for a domestic attack. Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl held congressional hearings earlier this summer to show an increase in the number of 'other than Mexicans' caught trying to enter the U.S.

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