The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

91° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Bored Border Patrol proves Republican rhetoric overblown

Remember during the election last year when Gov. Jan Brewer, Sen. Russell Pearce and a large number of other Republican candidates repeatedly stated that the federal government refused to do its job along the U.S./Mexico border? How the border was a dangerous place inhabited by drug cartels and vicious human smugglers? Yes? Me too. Well, all one has to do is drive a little bit south of town to see how much the federal government has invested in border security over the past six years, and apparently it’s making a difference. So much so that some U.S. Border Patrol agents are starting to fall asleep on the job from boredom.

According to the Los Angeles Times, apprehensions along the Tucson sector of the U.S./Mexico border, one of the busiest sectors of the border, dropped from 700,000 to just 100,000. Along the Southwest border, apprehensions dropped from 1.6 million to 448,000 between 2000 and 2010.

In addition to the nation’s poor economy, this is largely due to the massive buildup of the Border Patrol over recent years. Along the Yuma sector, one of the slowest sectors of the border, the number of agents has tripled since 2005. There are now about 900 agents stationed in the area.   

However, this makes work pretty dull for the countless agents who signed up expecting something a little more interesting. The Times reported that agents stationed along certain parts of the border are so bored that, in addition to falling asleep on the job, some now play video games or watch movies to pass the time. This, while dangerous as even the slowest parts of the border could become active at any time, speaks to how overblown the rhetoric surrounding immigration has become.  

Some people on the right might claim that the reason why apprehensions are so low is because of hardline immigration policies, like S.B. 1070. However, if this were true, then apprehensions wouldn’t have gone down in California, New Mexico or Texas. In fact, along the San Diego sector, apprehensions are at their lowest levels since the 1970s. The California Legislature certainly doesn’t have the same attitude toward immigration that the Arizona Legislature does, so this must have nothing to do with state policy.

The fact is that the federal government is doing its job when it comes to securing the nation’s border. Border Patrol agents are now along all parts of the border and, due to the increased enforcement, are effectively deterring immigrants and smugglers from crossing the border.

This proves even further that the rhetoric coming from this state’s politicians is not based in truth, but used only as a scare tactic to keep voters enthused. Of course, illegal immigration and the drug wars in Mexico cannot be ignored, but to claim that the state is in crisis due to a federal government that refuses to secure the border is just plain dishonest.

 

— Andrew Shepherd is a political science senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

More to Discover
Activate Search