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Illegal border crossings have doubled, and possibly even tripled, since the latest congressional push began toward comprehensive immigration reform.

In reporting first published by Townhall.com’s Katie Pavlich, border patrol agents in the Tucson/Nogales sector claim illegals are coming here in much higher numbers in just the past few months.

“We’ve seen the number of illegal aliens double, maybe even triple since amnesty talk started happening,” an unnamed border agent said to Townhall. The data from Customs and Border Protection cited in the report shows 504 illegals were detected crossing in that sector between Feb. 5 and March 1. Only 189 were caught on camera, and just 174 of the 504 were apprehended. Of those spotted on camera, 32 were carrying huge packs believed to contain drugs and several were heavily armed.

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Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and a former Texas judge. He told WND none of this surprises him.

“This is no surprise at all. It’s consistent with what we anticipated would happen, and it’s very consistent with the reports we’ve been hearing anecdotally along the border,” Gohmert said. “It is a huge problem and what we keep trying to get across to the administration and Senate Democratic leaders is until you secure the border even talking about amnesty becomes a magnet.”

Gohmert said this is a repeat of what happened along our southern border following the amnesty granted to illegals in 1986.

“That’s exactly what happened in 1986. It is exactly what is happening now, just from talking about amnesty. One of the border patrolmen said that when they’ve apprehended some, they’ve said, ‘Where do we go to get our amnesty?” he said. “They’ve heard about it. It’s drawing them in here, and we’ve even got to quit talking about it until this administration can do better than getting one-third of those who are crossing illegally. That’s not a secure border.”

The congressman also agreed with Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., who told us earlier in the week that the Department of Homeland Security has no current method of measuring the effectiveness of border security efforts. But Gohmert said that shouldn’t be that hard.

“It is possible to know who’s crossing. In Israel, they can detect people trying to dig under. They detect people trying to come across. This president can send drones to Yemen, for heaven’s sake, to blow up American citizens. You can certainly have drones flying for next to nothing along our border and then send people to apprehend those who come across. It’s not rocket science,” he said.

“For the cost of what they’ve given a couple of Solyndras, we could have had the whole southern border secure and be monitoring the northern border for incursions as well. It can be done. They’re just not choosing to do it,” Gohmert said.

Gohmert lauds Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for insisting upon regular order in the Senate, which would require open committee hearings and votes as well as a robust amendment process. He also said the greatest victims of amnesty would be legal immigrants, who have been waiting up to a decade or more for a chance at citizenship.

He believes the immigration legislation currently being discussed will only exacerbate the problem, but Gohmert contends that securing the border would make the rest of immigration reform very easy.

“I would say that what they’re talking about is not a reform,” he warned. “It is a magnet to more illegality unless the border is secured first. If we can just get the border secured – so of 504 people trying to get across illegally, we get 502 and only allow those coming in legally – once that’s done you will be amazed how quickly we get a deal done. But they’re wanting to put the cart in front of the horse, and that never works.”

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