And they call this a border crisis!
|Graph by Washington Office on Latin Ameica (WOLA), from US Border Patrol|
A few notes: Apprehension figures don’t necessarily tell us how many people crossed the border without authorization; they may just reflect how many resources have been put into apprehending them. There are now some 20,000 Border Patrol agents, more than five times the number in the early 1970s, so it’s possible that the agents are apprehending a higher percentage of the crossers—which would mean that border crossing 45 years ago was actually greater than now. And we need to remember that apprehensions don’t account for people crossing the other way. Estimates of the undocumented population have remained stable—around 11 million—for nearly a decade, which indicates that some immigrants are heading back home at the same rate that others are coming here.