/ Last Modified July 18, 2012

Illegal Immigration Hits 40-Year Low

Government says crossings down, but criminal immigrant arrests rise

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The government says apprehensions of people for federal immigration violations have dropped to the lowest level in 40 years, reflecting a decline in the northbound traffic of illegal immigrants from Mexico.

At the same time, the number of suspects booked by the U.S. Marshals Service for criminal immigration offenses has gone up dramatically, a function of tougher law enforcement on the U.S. side of the border.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics says the number of immigration-related apprehensions has steadily declined, peaking at 1.8 million in 2000 but dropping to 517,000 in 2010 — the lowest level since 1972.

Suspects arrested for federal criminal immigration offenses increased from 8,800 in 1994 to 82,000 in 2010.

In a seven-year span, the number of Border Patrol officers nearly doubled, from 11,000 to 21,000.

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