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Illegal border crossings into Arizona hit 20-year low

Federal officials recently reported that the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona had the lowest number of illegal crossings in 20 years. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said arrests of people who were trying to cross the border illegally fell by about 43 percent in the past two years.

The Border Patrol said 124,631 immigrants were arrested trying to enter into the country illegally in Arizona last year, which was more than an 82 percent drop since illegal border crossings peaked in 2000. They said heightened security in the state is responsible for the decline, as it has become increasingly difficult to enter the country illegally through Arizona.

Arizona has some of the strictest immigration laws in the country as well as more than 5,100 border patrol agents. According to the Border Patrol, aviation agents spent more than 16,000 hours in the air and helped with 26,000 arrests last year.

Border Patrol officials said about 22 millions travelers crossed into the United State from Mexico through Arizona over the past year. About 6,000 were stopped after being identified as a threat or for improper identification, while a total of 401 people wanted for crimes were arrested at the border, they said.

Recently, members of Congress proposed an outline for a new immigration bill that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are currently in the country illegally. First, though, the lawmakers said the Mexican border would need to be sufficiently secure.

The question is, will securing the borders mean other border states will need to adopt laws like Arizona has?

Source: Fox News Latino, "Illegal Border Crossings into Arizona at 20-Year Low," Feb. 8, 2013

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