Ramiro Cordero, a lifelong El Paso resident and border patrol agent for 12 years, told ABC News his 268 miles of border from West Texas, including El Paso, through New Mexico was secure.
"It will never be 100 percent secure, because there are always individuals trying to come across," he said. "Can we make it very secure? Yes, and that's what we are doing. That's what we are doing every day. It is most definitely safer, [and] me being a part of this community, I can sleep safe at night here in El Paso."
Cordero said he had seen dramatic changes since the early 1990s. Today's border-crosser has to navigate through border-patrol agents, ground sensors, cameras that can see day and night, drones and a 14-to-18 foot fence.
"You've got to climb 18 feet, or 15 feet through a fence that you can't even stick your fingers through to help you up," Cordero said. "Here comes the human part. Can you swim? Most of the migrants who have lost their lives here in the El Paso sector have lost their lives to the canals, the danger. ... And if you can swim, there are those agents waiting for you."
Efforts like those in El Paso and similar border crackdowns in San Diego and McAllen, Texas, have reduced undocumented crossings, but some say they have just pushed immigrants farther into the desert.
Arizona ranchers still complain of high traffic through their remote lands. But even in Arizona, the numbers have gone down, from 616,000 apprehensions to approximately 120,000 last year. A thousand new border patrol agents are given the credit, as is a weaker U.S. economy.
And as "Secure the Border First" remains the mantra of many in Washington worried that immigration reform is moving too quickly, 2,000 miles away, many point to El Paso and San Diego, as evidence the border is under control and secure.