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BP attempts to break cycle of repeat crossings

January 23, 2009
Nogales International

U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector would like to see the day when fewer illegal immigrants travel north from Mexico to Arizona to seek work. Then agents could concentrate on apprehending dangerous criminals, said Rob Daniels, public affairs officer for the Tucson Sector.

Robert Gilbert, chief of the Tucson Sector, wants to “end voluntary departure as an option, to prevent them (immigrants) from coming back,” Daniels said.

About 90 percent of the people apprehended by the Border Patrol have no criminal record or warrants, Daniels said. They can avoid a formal deportation in federal court if they agree to be bused back to Mexico, a process called “voluntary departure.”

But now the Border Patrol is sending more immigrants to federal court in Tucson to face prosecution for the misdemeanor offense of entry without inspection.

“If they are prosecuted by a judge, then they have a record,” Daniels said. “They can’t come back legally for five years.”

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