On WA's border, more security, tension since 9/11

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LYNDEN, Wash. (AP) -- Despite bolstering the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents on Canadian border in Washington state, the number of arrests of people entering the country illegally has dropped every year since 2001.

Hundreds of Border Patrol agents were added nationally to the northern border after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Politicians and security officials worried that terrorists could enter the country through the vast stretch.

Agency figure show that in the Blaine sector, which covers western Washington, the number of arrests totaled more than 2,000 in 2001 and dropped to less than 700 last year. In the Spokane sector, which covers eastern Washington, the number dropped from more than 1,300 ten years ago to less than 400 now.

Border Patrol spokesman Richard Sinks says apprehensions have declined because they reflect deterrence brought by the number of agents now present and because some enforcement tasks have been transferred to other agencies.

Before Sept. 11, two men, who were later convicted of planning a terrorist attacks, were detained in Washington state by customs and border personnel.