Operation Jumpstart, President Bush’s eight-month-old initiative to reinforce America’s southern border with National Guard troops, appears to be discouraging people from trying to cross illegally, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Apprehensions of illegal immigrants in the Yuma, Ariz., sector – one of the busiest for the past two years and a top target for the operation – have dropped 62 percent in the last four months compared with the same period a year ago. The amount of marijuana seized in the Yuma sector fell 36 percent for the same period.
The figures for the entire southern border – a 27 decline in apprehensions and a 51 percent increase in marijuana seized – are encouraging, experts say. “If those numbers hold [for the entire fiscal year], that would indeed represent a significant drop,” says Luis Cabrera, an expert on transnational justice issues at Arizona State University in Tempe. “We’re pretty sure there’s a deterrence effect.”