Advocates push reform as solution.
Fewer people may be getting caught at the U.S.-Mexico border, but of those who escape, more are dying in the desert.
The U.S. Border Patrol reported 477 immigrant deaths along the border last year, a 27% increase over 2011.
"While overall apprehensions are down almost 80% over the last decade, immigrant deaths at the border are up about 70%," says Stuart Anderson at the National Foundation for American Policy.
A lot of deaths are happening in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, where immigrants are funneled between border walls and increased enforcement. Many succumb to the elements, either dying by thirst from the heat or cool temperatures at night.
Anderson believes lessons from the 1950s can help.
"What research out of the Bracero Program shows is that if you give people a legal way to come in, they will take advantage and use that visa rather than coming in illegally," he tells KTRH News.
Geoff Boyce is with the Arizona-based group 'No More Deaths,' he fears without serious reform from Washington, the situation will only get worse.
"With the economy improving, we're going to see more people trying to cross and the same situation that we've seen over the past decade with hundreds of deaths each year," he says.
"The idea that we can build more walls on border and throw more agents at the problem, really misses the bigger picture," says Boyce. "You can't address such a holistic problem by focusing at the border of Texas or Arizona."
As with anything, Boyce says the devil is in the details.