New Border Patrol chief for Tucson sectorPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- There's a new Border Patrol Chief in the Tucson sector, his name is Richard Barlow.
And Tuesday he sat down to answer questions.
It comes on the heels of new numbers that show a decrease in illegal immigrant arrests.
He's the man now in charge of the largest stretch of the southwest border and he plans to make the Tucson sector even more secure.
"Now that the numbers are down we have the ability to really focus in on and work on intelligence as to who they are and come up with plans to disrupt their capabilities," said Chief Barlow.
Numbers released by Border Patrol Tuesday show a drop in the number of arrests of people crossing the U.S. Mexico border.
It's a trend seen for the sixth straight year. And it's the first time deportations outnumber arrests at the border.
"I'd like to think a lot of that is a result of us and our tactics understanding that there's other outside factors that add to that," Barlow said.
Activists at Derechos Humanos say one big factor is the lagging U.S. Economy.
"I think it would be very disingenuous for them to take credit for what they're seeing," said Kat Rodriguez from Derechos Humanos.
Kat Rodriguez says when the economy's down, immigrants choose to stay put. She says the numbers are misleading. When things bounce back so will the number of border crossings.
"They get to slice their bread both ways and they can't do that 'cause that's not the reality," Rodriguez said.
The reality for Chief Barlow is, tactics along the border are changing. Intelligence is more important than ever, crime can be targeted more strategically.
"Understanding where the threats are and then attacking those areas in more of a focused area," Barlow said.
And the chief says he understands the border is a hot button issue in the Tucson sector. Not everyone will agree with everything his agency does, but he's willing to listen.
"I'm open to the chance to sit down and have those conversations with folks in Tucson," Barlow said.
Chief Barlow says each year budget cuts are always a potential concern, but he will maximize whatever resources he's given to protect the Tucson sector.