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Old 07-17-2011, 04:33 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Default Fact Check: Arizona’s portion of illegal crossings

Fact Check: Arizona’s portion of illegal crossings
WHO SAID IT: Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
THE FORUM: June 16 meeting of the Ahwatukee Tea Party.
WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT: Babeu said half of all immigrants who cross the United States border illegally enter through Arizona.
ANALYSIS: Babeu is a popular speaker on illegal immigration and crimes such as drug trafficking and human smuggling. During a speech to the Ahwatukee Tea Party, he stated that half of all illegal immigrants who enter the United States come into the country though Arizona.
Babeu has repeated the claim many times in other public talks. He can't back up his assertion because it is impossible to track the entire number of illegal immigrants who enter the U.S. through Arizona. The only numbers available are the arrests made - public officials do not know how many people slip through without contact with authorities.
Babeu's spokesman Tim Gaffney said the sheriff's statement is based on U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrest numbers from fiscal 2010, the most recent numbers available.
The Border Patrol's website shows that authorities apprehended 463,382 people trying to cross into the United States illegally from entry points in Mexico, Canada and coastal areas in fiscal 2010.
Of those arrested, 212,202 were caught by Border Patrol agents from the Tucson sector, which stretches 262 miles along the U.S. border from the Yuma county line to the Arizona-New Mexico state line. Another 7,116 were apprehended last year by agents in the Border Patrol's Yuma Sector, which includes 126 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border between the Yuma-Pima County line in Arizona and the Imperial Sand Dunes in California.
Together, the numbers show that more than 47 percent of the entire number of immigrants captured tried to illegally enter through Arizona or the small slice of the Yuma section in California.
Eric Cantu, spokesman for the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, said he considers Babeu's statement as factual, adding that his agency only takes into account those apprehended, not those who go undetected by the Border Patrol.
"We speak only to the numbers that we have," he said. "We don't . . . make assumptions."
Gaffney said U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have told his department that for every illegal immigrant arrested trying to cross a border, another 2.7 make it into the United States undetected. And Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano estimated in February that the ratio of the people who successfully cross a border to those who are captured is 2:1.
Erik Lee, associate director for Arizona State University's North American Center for Transborder Studies, said his center does not have a better number for those who enter the United States and elude capture.
"There are no good public metrics for non-apprehensions," he said.
Bottom line: It is accurate that nearly half of those arrested by border patrol agents trying to enter the United States illegally in fiscal 2010 were captured in Arizona. But because the total number of those who have crossed illegally and have not been captured is unknown, it is impossible to say whether half of the total number of illegal immigrants cross at the Arizona border.
- Cathryn Creno
Sources: Interview with Tim Gaffney, director of communications and grants for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office; U.S. Border Patrol; interview with Eric Cantu, spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector; interview with Erik Lee, associate director for the North American Center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University

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