Number of Border Patrol arrests skyrockets in Detroit, across nation

Ambassador Bridge is biggest commercial crossing along US, Canadian border

By Koco McAboy - Reporter

DETROIT - Border Patrol arrests are skyrocketing across the country and in the Detroit area, according to new statistics from U.S. Border Patrol. 

In the Detroit sector, arrest numbers rose 80 percent in 2018, compared to 2017. In the fiscal year 2017, there were 1,070 arrests, compared to 1,930 arrests in fiscal year 2018.

Within the past few months, from October 2018 to February 2019, there have already been 633 arrests. A Border Patrol spokesperson told Local 4 the reason for the increase is a “boost in resources” to enhance border security. The people being arrested were living in the country without the proper documentation. 

The total number of arrests along the U.S.-Canadian border was 4,316, compared to 396,579 arrests along the southwest border in 2018. 

As arrest numbers are increasing, officers continue to secure the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest commercial crossing along the U.S.-Canadian border.

“On average, we get about 5,000 to 6,000 trucks a day, and in a peak hour, we could do as many as five miles of trucks an hour,” said Christopher Perry, the director of field operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers from the Office of Field Operations check all products and people coming into the U.S.  

“The vast majority of people we see, we see good, honest hardworking people, but we have to make sure everything coming in the country is safe and that we’re secure. Our primary responsibility is to keep dangerous things and dangerous people out of the country,” said Christopher Perry, the Director of Field Operations for US Customs and Border Protection. 

There’s a rigorous inspection process, including officers sifting through luggage and searching cars before people can enter the U.S. 

“We have officers in the booths. We have canines and X-ray technology,” said Perry. 

Part of the X-ray technology includes a high-tech imaging system. 

“A truck will pull in {to the imaging system}, the big 20,000-pound doors will close and we’ll scan that truck and get an image to see exactly what’s in it,” said Perry. 

It saves the officers a lot of time. 

“The old-fashioned way, we would have to literally, physically unload a truck manually and it could take hours,” said Perry. 

Officers still do a lot of manual labor, however, depending on the situation. There’s a warehouse at the Fort Street Cargo Facility near the Ambassador Bridge where officers take a closer look at various products or equipment loaded up on trucks. 

“We have to rely on a variety of tools and technology, not one thing we can rely on. Our officers are highly trained, high dedicated, but they alone are not the solution. We have technology. We have canines, advanced computer systems. So we take a holistic approach of using all of those resources and tools,” said Perry. 

The officers make seizures daily. 

“Whether it’s drugs, intellectual property violations, dangerous biological materials, currency, counterfeit checks -- it’s a tremendous workload and responsibility that our officers have,” Perry said. 

See the 2018 statistics from U.S. Border Patrol here.

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