Far fewer migrants from Mexico are successfully entering the U.S. illegally than a decade ago because stepped-up border enforcement means fewer are trying, more are getting caught, and more are giving up, the Arizona Republic reports. That is confirmed by a new internal Department of Homeland Security report obtained by the newspaper that concludes ramped-up border enforcement is working, helping to reduce successful crossings to one-tenth of what they were a decade earlier across the southern U.S. border with Mexico. The research is based on complicated mathematical calculations using published and internal Border Patrol data.
The report comes as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has promised to build a giant wall to keep migrants from illegally crossing the border . The campaign promise, which Trump repeats to cheers at almost every stump speech, has reinforced public perceptions that the border with Mexico remains out of control. The U.S. has spent $132 billion since fiscal year 2005 on border security, according to the Migration Policy Institute. That spending includes thousands of additional agents, fencing, ground sensors, surveillance cameras with night vision, radar, helicopters, drones, and criminal prosecutions of undocumented migrants caught crossing illegally. Border Patrol apprehensions, expected to total about 400,000 in fiscal year 2016, have dropped to the lowest levels since the early 1970s. The size of the nation’s undocumented population has leveled off at about 11.1 million after years of rapid growth, according to the Pew Research Center.