Phoenix Drophouses Decline, Pointing to A Drop In Illegal Immigration


The number of drophouses discovered by law-enforcement agencies in the Phoenix area has decreased significantly over the last four years, further indication, federal immigration-enforcement officials say, that human smuggling in Arizona is waning, the Arizona Republic reports. Federal immigration officials found 490 illegal immigrants in 37 drophouses in the Phoenix area in the year ending Sept. 30, compared with 3,221 illegal immigrants found in 186 drophouses in fiscal 2008, the peak year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Matthew Allen, special agent in charge of ICE investigations for Arizona, attributed the decrease in smuggling activity in Arizona to an overall decrease in illegal immigration because of the weak U.S. economy, tighter border security, stepped-up immigration enforcement, and tougher sentences imposed on smugglers who hold illegal immigrants hostage inside drophouses. While the number of drophouses discovered in the Phoenix area is down, there are signs that some of the illegal-immigration traffic may have moved from Arizona to the Rio Grande Valley at the southern tip of Texas, Allen said.

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