[JURIST] US Customs and Border Patrol [official website] agents arrested significantly fewer illegal immigrants [fact sheet] attempting to cross US borders in fiscal year 2006 than in the previous year, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] reported Monday. According to the DHS report, "CBP Border Patrol agents improved border security, reducing the number of apprehensions at the borders by 8.4 percent compared with fiscal year 2005." In a press conference [transcript] Monday, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff [official profile] said that the addition of over 1,500 border patrol agents, installation of new fencing, and implementation of other immigration reforms [JURIST news archive] have added to the ultimate goal of eliminating illegal attempts to enter the US.
An August DHS study [PDF text] estimated that the number of illegal immigrants living in the US increased by half a million [JURIST report] between January 2005 and January 2006. A study released in March by the Pew Hispanic Center [research website] estimates that the number of illegal immigrants now living in the US [JURIST report] has risen to 12 million. AP has more.