The U.S. Border Patrol told Congress on Tuesday that the number of apprehensions along the Mexican border was at a 40-year low. The trend prompted the agency to propose a new national strategy, the Associated Press reports:
For nearly two decades, the Border Patrol has relied on a strategy that blanketed heavily trafficked corridors for illegal immigrants with agents, pushing migrants to more remote areas where they would presumably be easier to capture and discouraged from trying again…. The new approach is more nuanced. Outlined in a 32-page document that took more than two years to develop, agents will now draw on intelligence to identify repeat crossers and others perceived as security threats, said Fisher.
This chart shows how the number of apprehensions has changed each year since 1925. The last time agents apprehended fewer people, Richard Nixon was in the White House (view larger version):
The number of apprehensions is down, experts believe, thanks in part to aggressive enforcement in recent years. This chart shows how the number of agents has increased substantially in the last 20 years (view larger version):