Arrest Numbers Signal 9 Percent Jump in Illegal Immigration in 2012

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, January 29, 2013

Even as President Obama travels to Las Vegas Tuesday to call for legalizing illegal immigrants, the latest numbers from the U.S. Border Patrol suggest that the flow across the nation’s southwest border jumped by 9 percent last year.

The Border Patrol made 356,873 arrests along the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2012, up from 327,577 in 2011, according to figures obtained by the Associated Press and confirmed by The Washington Times. Border Patrol officials estimate that apprehensions are a good proxy for illegal crossings, so when the numbers go up, it means that the flow of illegal immigrants is going up as well.

Last year’s increase marks a reversal. Apprehensions peaked in 2005 at 1.2 million and had been steadily dropping every year since as first President George W. Bush and then Mr. Obama committed more manpower and resources to the border.

In his first term Mr. Obama said he had fortified the border so much that it could now be deemed secure, and Congress could turn its attention to passing an overhaul of the broader immigration system.


The Homeland Security Department didn’t respond Tuesday morning to a request for comment on the new numbers, but Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, said the data represents a problem for Mr. Obama as he pushes for legalization.

“The Obama administration has asked the public and policy makers to accept its theory that declining numbers have meant that we are actually getting control of the border and that it is ‘more secure than ever before.’ If they’re going to stick with that logic, this would meant that things are going in the other direction,” she said.


Mr. Obama is expected to use his Las Vegas speech to embrace much of the bipartisan framework announced Monday by eight senators that would grant immediate legal status to all illegal immigrants, but withhold green cards until the border is secured. Green cards, signifying legal permanent residency, are the key interim step before getting citizenship.

Politico reported Tuesday that Mr. Obama will agree with most of the framework, but will balk at waiting for border security to be guaranteed before issuing green cards.


In 2007, the Senate’s last effort to pass a legalization bill failed after voters flooded the Capitol switchboard with calls insisting that Congress first work to secure the borders.

President Bush and Congress boosted manpower and technology on the border, and the number of apprehensions—and, presumably, illegal crossings—dropped dramatically.


A Government Accountability Office report earlier this month detailed some of the Border Patrol’s internal calculations about how many illegal crossers it misses, and the report said about 40 percent of would-be illegal immigrants get away. That rate has held consistent over time.

But Glenn Spencer, head of American Border Patrol, a private citizens group that tracks border crossings, said according to their own estimates, the Border Patrol only catches about 30 percent of illegal crossers.

If true, that would mean more than 800,000 illegal immigrants crossed without being apprehended last year.

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  • bigone4u

    The mad rush to cross the border is just starting, now that the generous amnesty bill’s outlines have made it plain that there’s going to be one heck of a party paid for by taxpayer dollars. Get in now while the gettin in is good, then LEGALLY bring all your relatives over. Yep, gonna be one big ugly hangover after this party ends.

    • The__Bobster

      I can see the fraudulent documents being printed as I type. Like last time, no one will question them.

  • Luca

    EXTRA, EXTRA, read all about it! Come on all you immigrants let’s head to El Norte! Free school, free lunches, free medical, drivers licenses with no insurance, work tax-free, free legal at ACLU and when you cross illegally you get amnesty and “a path to citizenship”. What’s not to like? Oh, and as a side bonus you get to drive-out and displace all those darn gringos. Come one, come all, before the window closes. Complements of Obama and the Democratic Party along with a few token delusional Republicans.

    And you wonder why border crossings are up?

    • The__Bobster

      I doubt that they were ever down. I mean, how can you tell how many invaders are crossing when you’re a border agent and your boss tells you not to pursue them?

  • ArmenianWN

    Imagine if millions of white Americans snuck south of the border and started to demographically destroyed traditionally Mexican towns, cities, provinces, etc. Illegal Immigration must be stopped. the U.S. is a sovereign nation and is entitled to enforced immigration . When you illegally cross the our border you are violating the US’s rights as a nation. If you cross illegally into Iran or North Korea, you are shot, if you cross illegally into America you get welfare, voting rights, as well as politicians from both major parties talking about legalizing you as a citizen. Illegal immigrants cross in because they know that they can take advantage of this. Not only that, They despise your country, they blame (legal) American citizens for their poverty, They refuse to assimilate, they refuse to learn English and demand to be taught and spoken to in Spanish, and they refuse to assimilate. Deport all illegals now

  • IstvanIN

    Reward bad behavior, or refuse to punish bad behavior, or just hold out the promise that eventually bad behavior will be rewarded and you will get more bad behavior. Human nature for even the least evolved among us. In fact more likely among the less evolved because they have no sense of shame.

  • Super Dave

    But according to “that one guy” who the left recently held up as a shining beacon of truth because he no longer supports Jared Taylor, Hispanics decrease crime!

    Wow, could it be he was wrong? What a shock.

    • Puggg

      Are you talking about that “Jobber” loon?

      Hispanics decrease crime…only if they replace or supplant blacks. Not hard to improve on the lowest common denominator.

      • Nathanwartooth

        When you understand race you can pull some neat magic tricks with statistics. Especially when you are performing in front of a group that knows nothing about race.

  • Critic_of_Leviathan

    I have a dream:

    1. Bring all our troops home.

    2. Put them on the Mexican border.

    3. Pay them $100,000 per year, plus a $10,000 bonus for each Mexican they shoot. Yes, they would become semi-mercenaries.

    Our troops would receive the compensation they deserve, and it would be bargain for the U.S. in the long run.

  • David Ashton

    Illegal today. Hey presto! Legal tomorrow.

  • joesolargenius

    No one group has a true understanding of just how many people are in this country illegally and we may never truly know but I have traveled all over this country for decades and can honestly state that they are in every town and definitely outnumber the blacks overall . Any Amnesty would bring out vast numbers as well as cause a surge of humanity from every corner of the world to flood our social service system into oblivion . This country will never be great again should this happen.