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Arrests along U.S.-Mexico border decline

Dec. 5, 2007 at 10:17 PM

SAN ANTONIO , Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Border patrol says arrests for illegally crossing the U.S. border from Mexico are down nearly 35 percent in Texas and 38 percent in New Mexico.

Randy Hill, head of the Del Rio patrol sector, said increased efforts to prosecute illegal immigrants and strong state border security operations have helped deter illegal crossings, the El Paso (Texas) Times reported Wednesday.

Hill said a primary reason for the decrease in Texas was a Border Patrol effort to take all those caught illegally crossing the border to court within 48 hours instead of releasing them into Mexico. Getting caught making an illegal crossing is a federal misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, the newspaper said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent at least $20 million since 2005 on border security, the newspaper said.

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