By Land or by Sea, Tougher US Border Tests Illegal Immigrants

Dave Graham, Reuters, March 20, 2013

Mexican grandmother Lucia Angulo has entered the United States illegally so often over the past three decades that she has lost count of how many times border patrols caught her.

But when she left San Diego to visit her dying mother in Mexico last April, she knew it would be harder than ever to return. Nearly a year later, she was still trying.

Angulo is one of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to the United States who have felt the force of tougher U.S. policing, new barriers and record deportations, which have helped cut to nil the net migration flow from south to north, according to a study last year by the non-partisan Pew Hispanic Center.


When she arrived in San Diego 26 years ago, the U.S. border held no real fear for Angulo, who used to cross it twice a year.

She no longer recalls how often she was caught, only that it was “more than 10 times,” and that she was never held for more than a few hours. One by one, she brought her three Mexican daughters across, and by 1992 all were with her in San Diego.

U.S. border security was tightened after the September 11, 2001, attacks, and increased further after the 2007-2008 financial crisis, forcing illegal immigrants and smugglers to think harder about how to get over, under or around the frontier.

One way was by sea. In the 2012 fiscal year, 779 people were apprehended illegally crossing the Pacific, up from 230 in 2008, U.S. Border Patrol data show.

Meantime, the amount of marijuana heading north seized on the California coast quintupled from 2010 to 2012, according to figures from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Other smugglers chose to dig beneath the border. ICE figures show that 121 tunnels were found between 2006 and 2012, four times the number in the previous seven years.


Crossings on the Tijuana-San Diego section of the border are today a fraction of what they once were.

In 1986, when the United States passed a reform that granted amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants, the Border Patrol arrested 630,000 people crossing into the San Diego area alone.

Last year, fewer 360,000 people were detained across the entire 2,000-mile (3,200-km) border, and only 28,500 in San Diego.

For all the improvements in security, Mexicans no longer have the same economic incentive to move north either.


The difference between the United States and parts of Central America is more pronounced, and illegal immigrants from countries like Guatemala and Honduras helped make up for a drop in the number of Mexicans arrested on the border last year.

With the western part of the border more secure, traffic has been pushed east, especially into the violent state of Tamaulipas that borders Texas along the Rio Grande river.


In San Diego, the Mexican daughters of Angulo hope the U.S. Congress will find a way of giving them the same rights as their two half-brothers and half-sister born in the United States. Angulo also has eight grandchildren, all born in the United States, making them citizens.


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  • a multiracial individual

    There is NO greater threat to the USA at this time.

    • The__Bobster

      Amnesty is a greater threat. As long as the stubbies remain illegal, they can be deported.

    • HadEnough

      Agreed. Everything pales to insignificance compared to the impending immigration deluge. Nothing compares: not N3gro crime, not tax policy, not public money wasted propping up Israel, nothing. All these other issues can be revisited and corrected in time. Immigration, not so. Once our finger is out of the dike and the flooding commences, there will be no undoing the damage, not ever.

  • Bill

    Shouldn’t have been caught more than twice, and on the second time, all illegals should be forced to work five years on chain gang type infrastructure projects. Fed a subsistence diet only, and have five more years tacked on to the sentence each time they are caught again. I’d recommend an entirely draconian penalty for these border jumpers who are caught the third time, but we can’t even get our pols to admit there is a problem, let alone take the kinds of measures countries like Saudi, the old USSR, Iran, China take.

    • The__Bobster

      All captured invaders should be chipped so they be easily tracked, then tossed back across the border. If they re-enter, they should be treated like invaders used to be treated.

      • Mark Luger

        I have an idea that might work. Why don’t we put a toll booth on the border like in Blazing Saddles? Here’s how it would work. We would charge $20.00 for teens, 25.00 for adults; 50.00 for preggos and 100.00 for drug dealers. we would make a fortune!

  • The__Bobster

    A propaganda piece by Reuters to make us think the border is actually secure. I don’t believe a word of it.

    • Shattered

      I’ve seen no evidence of it. Pure propaganda by the “progressive” liberal media to make their king Obama look good for releasing all those illegal aliens who had committed crimes from DOJ custody. Reuters will ban you faster than the speed of light for failing to lie to align with political correctness.

    • John

      I’ve been reading these horror stories lately about European criminal banks deciding arbitrarily to steal money from the savings accounts of citizens in Cyprus. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s criminal banksters are considering similar measures for their country.

      Imagine for a moment that the U.S. government announced martial law, closed all criminal banks, and announced that it was necessary to collect 20% from all savings and checking accounts to avert another financial collapse of their masters in the banking sector. What would you do?

      Fortunately, the government of Cyprus rejected the measured, but it is only a matter of time until the criminals who own the world’s central banks come for our money and take it by force from our savings and checking accounts. Of course, if they would rob citizens like that, what would stop them from taking your home by force and killing you as you try to defend it?

      Sure, we can act tough and say, “Let them try! They’ll have to kill me first, and some of them are going with me.” Many of us would say that and mean it, but here’s the rub. The banksters don’t care, nor do their puppets in the government! If you were to get in a shootout with the pawns sent to steal your money and property, you’d only be killing other witless morons who are in the same boat as you. They’re merely clueless pawns in the game of the world’s elite. The criminal banksters don’t care about their pawns or you. Result? You’d be dead, a few of their pawns might be dead, but the banksters would be laughing all the way to their own banks with your money! This is just crazy and it must end, but how?

      What do we do? Convert everything to gold and bury it in the ground? This is madness.

      Okay, my apologies for drifting, but I sincerely wanted to tie this into the story. In reading about what has transpired in Cyprus and New Zealand, it makes me think of an easier way for the criminal government/banksters to get the money they so desperately want and rid the nation of illegals at the same time.

      To do this, the government should begin confiscating the assets of anyone illegally on U.S. soil. By “assets” I mean literally anything of material worth. Cash, checking accounts, savings accounts, wages, homes, property, vehicles, jewelry, clothes, stocks, bonds, and other securities. Confiscate it all and use it to fund ICE to complete the deportation process.

      In summary, the government should not rob ordinary citizens to balance the budget and avert another financial disaster. Take it all from illegals and watch them scamper home to Mexico and points south on the very same day! If I were POTUS, that would be my first “Executive Order”. I’m completely serious.

      • Nathanwartooth

        This is actually the best outcome possible.

        Instead of bailing out the banks by taxing everyone they take the money straight from the bank accounts.

        So what does this do? It makes the people who deposit money in the banks very wary of the banks.

        I think most people would rather stuff their money in a mattress than risk randomly losing it holding it at the bank. This will either force bank reform or more likely they will just go back to robbing people through taxes to pay for the bailouts.

        Keeping your money at the bank is a joke anyway. They pay you next to nothing in interest. It’s just a convenience nowadays.

    • JohnEngelman

      FOX News won a lawsuit to protect its right to lie.

      Reuters never needed to.

  • Mark Randolph

    I have an idea!! Why don’t we put a toll booth on the border just like in Blazing Saddles! We would make a fortune. Here’s how it would work; we charge $20.00 for teens; 25.00 for adults; 50.00 for females carrying a bun in the oven; 100.00 for drug dealers; It worked for sheriff Bart and Mongo, so it should work for us.

  • crystalevans

    Because of increased border enforcement in California as well as Texas, illegals are now forced to cross the border into Arizona and since many are not prepared for crossing the Arizona desert, there have been many who have died in the desert. Since most of them have no ID on them, it is difficult to identify the bodies and send them back home to Mexico for burial.

  • jambi19

    Notice how this article leads with a “grandma” getting caught crossing the border multiple times. It’s to deflect your intuition naturally assuming whom really is getting caught multiple times at the border (smugglers).

  • Fed Up

    Sorry, but I sure as hell don’t buy this story. If there really IS border enforcement, I suspect the border patrol and Coast Guard must be taking bribes from those illegal immigrants — to look the other way.

  • Katherine McChesney

    Four years ago I met a Mexican immigrant who was working for Burger King in Santa Monica. He told me he would be returning with his family to Mexico as he needed a credit report to rent or own anything in the U.S. He said Mexicans aren’t aware that the American Dream can’t be experienced as soon as they enter the country.

  • No amnesty, no “guest worker” programs, none of that crap. Close the border. Use the National Guard and give them shoot-to-kill orders. If the National Guard can’t be deployed, deploy the State Guards (Texas comes to mind). I know plenty of State Guard soldiers who would jump at the chance to deploy to the border.

    Start shooting illegals crossing the border illegally and just leave the bodies there as a warning to others. The message WILL get across and very quickly.

    Crack down on employers who replace Americans with cheap illegal labor. Fine the crap out of them. Allow employees who lose their jobs to illegals to sue!

  • Felix_M

    Still not tough enough. We need to have immigration laws and enforcement at list as stringent as Mexico’s or India’s. We cannot afford to let the jackasses in Washington continue to sell us out.