Is the border the most secure it's ever been? - New York News

Is the border the most secure it's ever been?

Posted: Updated:
  • ImmigrationMore>>

  • Coalition sues over immigrants' access to lawyers

    Coalition sues over immigrants' access to lawyers

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:46 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:46:04 GMT
    A coalition of lawyers filed a lawsuit Friday to halt the quick deportation of Central American woman and children, saying immigrants at a New Mexico detention center don't have proper access to lawyers and are...
    A coalition of lawyers filed a lawsuit Friday to halt the quick deportation of Central American women and children, saying immigrants at a New Mexico detention center don't have proper access to lawyers and are being...
  • Obama weighs broader move on legal immigration

    Obama weighs broader move on legal immigration

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:04 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:04:55 GMT
    President Barack Obama is considering key changes in the legal immigration system requested by tech, industry and powerful interest groups.
    President Barack Obama is considering key changes in the nation's immigration system requested by tech, industry and powerful interest groups, in a move that could blunt Republicans' election-year criticism of the...
  • Immigrants found in back of locked rental truck

    Immigrants found in back of locked rental truck

    Federal officials say nine immigrants who entered the United States illegally were found locked inside the cargo area of a rental truck at a Border Patrol checkpoint in southern Arizona.
    Federal officials say nine immigrants who entered the United States illegally were found locked inside the cargo area of a rental truck at a Border Patrol checkpoint in southern Arizona.
  • Special ReportsMore>>

  • Did someone die in your house? Valley woman discovers tragic history in her new condo

    Did someone die in your house? Valley woman discovers tragic history in her new condo

    Here's a question that usually doesn't come up as you buy your American dream home. Has anyone ever died in the house, if so how did they die?Those creepy questions are ones that a young valley woman wishes she would have asked.
    Here's a question that usually doesn't come up as you buy your American dream home. Has anyone ever died in the house, if so how did they die?Those creepy questions are ones that a young valley woman wishes she would have asked.
  • Panhandling: why there is an increase in panhandlers

    Panhandling: why there is an increase in panhandlers

    Have you noticed there seems to be more panhandlers on city streets? It's a common site just off freeway exit ramps, waiting to collect money from kindhearted drivers.For some of the men and women who seemingly have fallen on hard times, they're able to rake in big bucks in an hour or two.
    Have you noticed there seems to be more panhandlers on city streets? It's a common site just off freeway exit ramps, waiting to collect money from kindhearted drivers.For some of the men and women who seemingly have fallen on hard times, they're able to rake in big bucks in an hour or two.
  • Some Arivaca residents upset over Border Patrol checkpoint

    Some Arivaca residents upset over Border Patrol checkpoint

    A battle is brewing in one Arizona Border Town over what some residents say is taking over their way of life. They're not talking about migrants crossing the border; their fight is with Border Patrol.
    A battle is brewing in one Arizona Border Town over what some residents say is taking over their way of life. They're not talking about migrants crossing the border; their fight is with Border Patrol.
NOGALES, Ariz. -

As Congress debates a comprehensive solution to illegal immigration, many are demanding "secure the border first."

Five years ago I flew with Customs and Border Protection in a Blackhawk helicopter and witnessed chaos along the border.

While the situation has vastly improved, opinions are divided over why.

Arizona's 368 mile border with Mexico remains the most popular illegal gateway into the United States. More than half of all illegal crossings into the U.S. happen here.

But in the past few years, the numbers along the Arizona border have dropped significantly. When the economy tanked and jobs were scarce -- illegal entries declined.

In 2000, 616,000 illegal immigrants were intercepted trying to cross the border. Last year that number dropped to 120,000.

"I don't think it's any secret that the majority of these people are coming to work," said Jeffrey Self, Joint Field Commander.

Improved fencing has made a difference, especially around the populated ports of entry like Nogales. This is a section of the original fence built back in the 90s, the first serious attempt at a border fence. Still pretty sturdy but these posts are hollow. Compare that to the newer fence built a couple of years ago in 2011. This is steel filled with concrete and rebar -- almost impossible to cut through.

This warehouse in Nogales once held hundreds of illegals captured every day. Today, the cages are empty. Instead of people, they now house old furniture and computers.

While improved fencing and high tech surveillance have made it harder to cross, the determined still find a way. In this Nogales parking lot, in the shadow of the border fence, three tunnels were discovered and plugged this year.

"The callousness, the desperation of these criminal organizations they're using any means necessary to operate," said Brent Cagen, U.S. Border Protection.

And right across the street, another tunnel ran right into this building.

"When agents made these apprehensions there were more than 100 people inside."

The drug cartels are hardly standing down. On this day, at the Nogales port of entry, field agents busted a woman smuggling $85,000 worth of heroin in her crotch and bra.

"I noticed the passenger had abnormally large breasts," said a border agent.

Technology can never replace the trained eyes of agents.

"It's something that we see every day, 8 hours a day. And she just didn't seem right to me."

While the ports of entry are the most secure places on the border, people might be surprised to learn Mexicans, who have a B1-B2 visa can enter Arizona, go as far north as Tucson, and stay for up to 30 days.

The idea is keep people and commerce flowing.

"They live in Mexico they come over here to shop and go right back."

Border security on the honor system.

"We like to say about 98 percent of the people who come through here are legitimate travelers, so that shows you what our challenge is, to pinpoint those who are indeed up to no good."

As border security has improved, it's pushing drug smugglers and human traffickers into more remote, dangerous regions of the border.

That's where airplanes, helicopters and drones come into play. Eyes in the sky for the agents on the ground.

The aircraft moves where needed by the people in this room.

"We're taking our aircraft and putting them in position to help our people in the field make those interdictions."

But all the security and technology the government can muster will never stop the dream of a better life that waits on the other side of this fence.

"It does open your eyes to why people would choose to come to the United States," said Cagen. "Is there an immigration solution, I don't know. Is there a way to stop it completely I don't know. What I can tell you is that this has slowed it down significantly."

Along Arizona's 368-mile border with Mexico, 306 miles has some fencing.

The other 62 miles are in areas where the geography does not lend itself to a fence.

But as one source told me, fences, agents, technology aside, for those who are committed to coming to the U.S. -- 3 out of 4 -- eventually make it. One way or another.

Didn't find what
you were looking for?

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Hope's Land of Candy

    Hope's Land of Candy

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:13 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:13:34 GMT
    Step through the doors of Hope's Land of Candy in Island Park, Long Island and you''ll be taking a trip back in time. There's no WIFI but they do have a Victrola piano. And then there's the candy.. lots and lots of it.
    Step through the doors of Hope's Land of Candy in Island Park, Long Island and you''ll be taking a trip back in time. There's no WIFI but they do have a Victrola piano. And then there's the candy.. lots and lots of it.
  • Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:48:09 GMT
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
  • West Indian Day Parade steps off amid shootings

    West Indian Day Parade steps off amid shootings

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:05 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:05:47 GMT
    The West Indian Day Parade is supposed to be a time of fun and excitement in celebration of Caribbean culture. However, several shootings near the parade has turned it into a day of tragedy for some.
    The West Indian Day Parade is supposed to be a time of fun and excitement in celebration of Caribbean culture. However, several shootings near the parade has turned it into a day of tragedy for some.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices