Border patrol agents: they're playing cell phone video games, reading books, bringing pillows to their shift, or just fighting the urge to nod off while parked in remote locations. The reason? "Beefed-up enforcement and the job-killing effects of the great recession have combined to reduce the flood of immigrants in many former hot spots to a trickle," finds the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper trots out some eye-catching immigration statistics to back up their "boredom at the border" feature. Among them:
- Overall apprehensions on the Southwest border have dropped more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2010, from 1.6 million to 447,731, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol statistics (chart here).
- In the Yuma sector, a 126 mile section straddling California and Arizona that was once considered "the border's most trampled region," apprehensions have dropped 95 percent, from 138,460 to 7,116. More than 900 agents are now stationed there.
- Takeaway quote: "'When the traffic stops … of course it's going to be difficult for the agents to stay interested,' said Supervisory Agent Ken Quillin, from the agency's Yuma, Ariz., sector. 'I understand guys have a tough time staying awake.... they didn't join the border patrol to sit on an X,' Quillin added, using the slang term for line watch duty."