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The number of people caught trying to enter the country fell by more than 23 percent last year according to new federal data. The struggling economy and hurting job market continue to be major causes, but the administration is also trying to point towards beefed up border security.

The Obama administration has maintained that stronger enforcement and border security are cornerstones to passing "comprehensive immigration reform." DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano referred to the dropping number of border arrests during her mass amnesty pitch to the Center for American Progress last week.

Border apprehensions in fiscal year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, dropped to just more than 556,000. That number of arrests represented a drop of more than 177,000 from the previous year. The number of border patrol arrests has dropped nearly 67 percent since 2000.

Despite the reduction in arrests, some experts believe that those numbers will rebound when the U.S. economy rebounds.

"I would be very surprised if there would be these kinds of reductions, even with the investments that have been made," senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, Doris Meissner, told the Wall Street Journal.

With more fencing, more border patrol agents, and more sophisticated surveillance technology, officials say individuals wishing to cross the border illegally are finding new ways. They say there are more attempts to fly aircraft over the border, more attempts to crash the border like three vans attempted in San Diego two months ago, and more attempts to burrow under the fence.

For more information, see the Wall Street Journal.

Illegal Immigration
Attrition through Enforcement
border control