TUCSON — The Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, which includes the Casa Grande station, reported an unprecedented number of apprehensions and seizures in Fiscal Year 2019.
Nationwide, U.S. Border Patrol apprehended more than 850,000 individuals who illegally entered the United States along the Southwest border in FY 2019, which ended Sept. 30. In Tucson Sector, 63,490 were apprehended, a 22% increase over the previous fiscal year.
An influx of family units to Tucson Sector came mostly from Central America. By the end of September, Tucson Sector apprehended a record 16,199 individuals who entered the country in family groups and an additional 5,105 unaccompanied children, infants to 17 years old. Family unit apprehensions increased 227% over fiscal 2018, while unaccompanied children increased 2%.
The majority of Tucson Sector arrests continue to be single adult men actively avoiding law enforcement. These 42,186 individuals accounted for 66% of Tucson’s total apprehensions.
Nationwide, U.S. Border Patrol rescued 4,911 people, including U.S. citizens, in rural, urban and marine areas near the borders. Tucson Sector saved the lives of 924 people from vast desert and wilderness areas, with many of them calling 911. Human smugglers continue to put migrants’ lives in danger by abandoning them in the desert.
At immigration checkpoints and across southern Arizona, Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents seized 59,000 pounds of marijuana, 2,700 pounds of meth, 150 pounds of heroin and a substantial 13 pounds of fentanyl. Tucson Sector’s 50% decrease in marijuana seizures from FY 2018 is consistent with marijuana decreases across other Border Patrol sectors.
Supplemental funding, cooperation with the government of Mexico and new agreements made with Central American countries are credited with a decrease in illegal entries along the Southwest border since May 2019. Officials are counting on new border infrastructure to further prevent human smuggling and drug trafficking.
In Tucson Sector, construction on a new border wall began near Lukeville, where the largest groups of family units entered and surrendered to agents, as well as near Douglas.