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Border Patrol Apprehends Boatload of Undocumented Immigrants

Aired 4/16/12 on KPBS News.

Agents spotted the boat two miles off the coast of Ocean Beach and swarmed it when made landfall.

— Border Patrol Agents apprehended a boat full of undocumented immigrants when it made landfall on Ocean Beach early Monday morning.

Agents on land spotted the boat about 1:30 a.m., when it was still 2 miles off the coast. They tracked it as it made its way to shore and swarmed it when it made landfall.

Border Patrol agent Jose Velasquez said the people on board scattered. He said agents arrested 15, and that based on interviews with the arrested migrants agents believe they caught everyone on board.

The use of smuggling boats to get into the U.S. from Mexico has been on the rise since the Border Patrol has increased enforcement of the land border in recent years, fueling criticism by enforcement opponents that migrants will only seek more dangerous routes in.

Velasquez said it has become common for smuggling boats to go far offshore to avoid detection.

“Sometimes they’re known to go as far as 50 miles or more off the coast and into open waters," he said. "But in this instance they were 2 miles off the coast.”

Between October and March, the San Diego Border Patrol arrested 359 attempted maritime crossers.

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