NBC Bay Area
November 20, 2012
When the Department of Homeland Security trudged up to Capitol Hill this year and asked lawmakers for another 365 days worth of funding, as every federal agency does each year, officials ticked off a list of accomplishments they presented as evidence of the agency’s ongoing success.
The department pointed to a marked decrease in the number of immigration apprehensions by the Border Patrol. Apprehensions, they said, are “a key indicator of illegal immigration,” according to its annual budget request totaling $39.5 billion for the 2013 fiscal year.
Such apprehensions are down more than 50 percent since 2008, and total just one-fifth of what they were in 2000, the request claims.
But a downward trend in total apprehensions may not prove the department’s border enforcement strategies are working, because they don’t reflect the number of people who elude capture or who are discouraged from attempting to cross again after being caught once.