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The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES, Associated Press
FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2011, file photo Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, center, tours the U.S.-Mexico border with U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Coronado National Forest near Nogales, Ariz. Most illegal border crossers are apprehended along the 2,000-mile long Mexican border in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Since the 2006 budget year, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has spent more than $1.4 billion on what is described as “administrative uncontrollable overtime,” according to the data provided by the Border Patrol. In practical terms, agents average two hours a day in overtime.

WASHINGTON — An Associated Press analysis of Border Patrol records finds that agents have racked up daily overtime at a cost of about $1.4 billion in the past six years while the number of arrests of illegal border crossers has fallen to the lowest level in nearly 40 years.

In practical terms, agents average two hours a day in overtime.

Over the course of a year an agent can earn about $15,000 more than the base salary. Agents are limited to $35,000 in overtime annually.

Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello says patrolling the border can be an unpredictable job that requires longer hours from agents.