The Border Patrol will send 643 new agents to Arizona by next October, says the Arizona Republic. It is an increase of about 22 percent that federal officials say will help slow the tide of illegal immigration. More than 3,500 agents would be assigned to Arizona, more than a quarter of the Border Patrol’s entire force. Last year, more than half of the 1.2 million arrests the Border Patrol made were in Arizona. In all, there will be 1,700 new agents added and be deployed to California, Texas, and New Mexico, bringing the total number to nearly 13,000, Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said.
The added border agents may help, but officials say it would take a crackdown on employers who hired illegal workers to address the problem effectively. Ray Borane, mayor of Douglas, an Arizona border community on one of the busiest routes for illegal immigration. He called the latest increase in agents “a waste of time, money and effort.” The plan for new agents comes as Congress prepares for a debate over immigration. The House will consider legislation next week to increase security along the border and require employers to verify that prospective workers are in the country legally.