The Border Patrol is bigger than ever, but some observers on the U.S.-Mexico border are seeing more illegal immigrants than ever, says the Associated Press. The Border Patrol doubled in size from 1995 and 2005, reaching 11,500 agents, but many experts and critics agree that the buildup hasn’t done much good. “What we find pretty consistently is that the number of agents just does not seem to be related to the number of apprehensions that they make,” said Linda Roberge of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
“Ultimately, I suppose if they spend enough money they can build a wall, station a Border Patrol agent every hundred yards for 2,000 miles, that might do it. But what would that achieve?” said Doug Massey, a sociologist at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Government. John Keeley of the Center for Immigration Studies wondered why there was no call to dramatically increase the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel at job sites in the interior. ICE’s enforcement staff for the entire nation outside the border areas is only about 200, and Bush’s 2007 budget calls for 200 more.