February 13th, 2013
09:30 AM ET

CNN Fact Check: Illegal border crossings at lowest levels in 40 years

By Ann Colwell and Tom Watkins, CNN

(CNN) - During Tuesday night's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama touted his administration's efforts on reducing illegal immigration.

The claim:

"Real reform means stronger border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made - putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history, and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years."

That's a big claim, so CNN decided to take a closer look.

The facts:

In fiscal year 2011, there were 18,506 U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Southwest Border Sectors - up steadily from 3,555 agents in 1992, according to Customs and Border Protection figures.

A Pew Research Hispanic Center study finds that Border Patrol apprehensions of all unauthorized immigrants are at their lowest level since 1971. "In spite of (and perhaps because of) increases in the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents, apprehensions of Mexicans trying to cross the border illegally have plummeted in recent years—from more than 1 million in 2005 to 286,000 in 2011—a likely indication that fewer unauthorized migrants are trying to cross," it concluded.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. We Are All Humans

    I kind of somewhat agree with this article. The way I see it, illegal immigration is not as bad as people say it is. Every story has it’s ups and downs. A lot of people look at it like a bunch of “aliens” breaking laws and not paying taxes. But actually, you have to understand that it is not their choice to be illegal. No one wants to be illegal. But the problem with immigration is the government. If they would follow the immigration policy and give every single immigrant a chance to be legal, there wouldn’t be illegals. You have to understand that they don’t have all the time in the world to wait around for the government. A lot of people come and search for a new life so they can share with with the rest of their family back home. But as you can see, not everyone has the time to wait and that is why they risk everything for their families. If it was as easy as it seems than there would not people any illegals and there would not be people sneaking in. The good thing about legal immigrants is that they could pay taxes unlike illegals. So where is the bad in that? If we could all be fair and help each other out then there wouldn’t be any issues. But you know, that is my point of view. There is always going to be issues. We could always start over, by being fair.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. fedup100

    who would want to come hear any more

    February 18, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gi Jon

    Cnn you need to check your facts 400000 were detained at the border last year Its funny this blog comes out the first day of senate hearings on illegal immigration no amnesty

    February 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |