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Orange County Bar Association

Biggest Problem on the Frontier is Boredom

Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo

Air traffic controllers are not the only ones falling asleep on the job. Another group, border patrol agents, is falling asleep as activity along the border declines. People dashing across, scaling fences or driving through have become more of a rarity. In the ten years since 2000, apprehensions along the border with Mexico declined from 1.6 million to 448,000. In Yuma, Arizona agents were significantly outnumbered as recently as 2005, when groups would rush across and foot agents were unable to stop them. As a result, the protocol began to focus on individuals headed toward residential lawns. Then by 2010, there was a 95% drop in the number of immigrants being apprehended. In those five years illegal immigrants attempting to pass through fell to 21 attempted in comparison to 2,700. A number of surveillance improvements were made in order to aide the outnumbered agents. Stadium lighting was added; a triple increase in agents; triple fences and jailing those caught trying to cross the border illegally. Now, with illegal crossings down, Agents have been caught sleeping, some in their cars. Even those that try not to fall asleep, sometimes do. Looking out into the horizon while sitting down is a great contrast from the physical and mental exertion of chasing people down and coming into contact with hundreds of individuals in one day. The drop in activity is also attributed to the recession. The hard times have decreased the chances of a better life over the border.

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