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In this Sept. 27, 2010 photo, contractors reinforce a section of damaged border fence in Douglas, Ariz., as seen from Agua Prieta in Sonora, Mexico. (AP Photo/Matt York) In this Sept. 27, 2010 photo, contractors reinforce a section of damaged border fence in Douglas, Ariz., as seen from Agua Prieta in Sonora, Mexico. (AP Photo/Matt York)  

Reports: Legalization promise spurs illegal immigration

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

A wave of immigrants are crossing the Mexico-Texas border, seeking the promise of legalization, complete with eventual American citizenship and access to welfare benefits, according to a report from 1200 WOAI in San Antonio.

“The Border Patrol agent was loading one man up, and he told the officer in Spanish, ‘Obama’s gonna let me go,’” said a witness cited by the radio station Friday.

The witness, Linda Vickers, owns a ranch in Brooks County, which is frequently crossed by illegal immigrants.

The radio station’s report cited corroborating statements from Border Patrol agents.

The “agents report that immigrants are crossing the border, and in some cases surrendering while asking, ‘Where do I go for my amnesty?’” said the report.

Other reports show an increased inflow of migrants. In 2011, 375 people died the crossing the border, but the number rose to 477 in 2012, according to the National Foundation for American Policy, a pro-immigration group.

Similarly, U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested 8,041 children trying to cross the border in 2008. That number had jumped to 24,481 in 2012.

In April, Fox News reported that Border Patrol agents have seen an increase in border crossers since March.

“Starting last month, border agents began noticing an unexpected trend — groups of immigrants crossed the border illegally but instead of trying to avoid agents, they sought them out to turn themselves in,” Fox reported April 5.

“Word has spread south of the border that there’s a good chance they could get amnesty as part of a major overhaul to the U.S. immigration system now being debated in Congress,” Fox reported.

According to Vickers, the inflow is arising because the migrants are hoping to get into the amnesty promised by President Barack Obama and the Senate’s “Gang of Eight.”

“When you have amnesty waving in the wind, you’re going to get an increase,” Vickers says.  “And when you get an increase, especially with this heat, you’re going to get an increase in deaths” as people try to cross the Texas desert.

The pending bill offers legalization to all illegals who persuade officials that they were in the country prior to the 2012.

Most advocates say the country is host to nearly 12 million illegal immigrants. Other estimates say the number is 15 million or even 20 million.

The bill would also provide visas to roughly 1 million, non-farm foreign workers each year.

Currently, 540,000 working-age people and 30,000 retirees, legally immigrate into the country each year.

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