NPR Story
12:49 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

A Profile Of Who Is Crossing The Border Illegally

As comprehensive immigration reform makes it’s way to the legislative floors, the lynchpin of the debate continues to hinge on border security. In the last decade the number of Border Patrol officers has more than doubled, and there are now more than 653 miles of steel barriers along the border.

The $18 billion price tag for immigration and port security last year was more than drug enforcement, FBI and gun spending combined. Yet it hasn't stopped individuals from crossing and, even after apprehension, a new survey suggests they are likely to try again.

Reasons and Resolve to Cross the Line, a survey from the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at the University of Arizona, compiles interviews with more than 1,000 immigrants apprehended trying to illegally cross into the Tucson sector in 2012.

From those interviewed, a profile emerges:

100 percent Born in Mexico

94 percent Male

59 percent Have or seeking a profession in low-skilled, manual labor

57 percent 20-29 years old

23 percent Headed to California

More than half of the applicants in the survey knew the consequences of apprehension, and 43 percent of those said they planned to try to cross again in the future. But, for those with a spouse already in the U.S., 61 percent intended to cross again in the future.

Among those surveyed, there were 2,500 crossing attempts. Of those, nearly 1,900 apprehensions were documented. That means the overall apprehension rate was 76 percent.

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