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New Patrol Agents to Increase Force at Border by Nearly 60%

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the latest step to implement the

Clinton Administration's Southwest Border Strategy, Attorney
General Janet Reno today announced that additional enforcement
personnel, equipment and new technology will be sent to further
strengthen Operation Gatekeeper, stem illegal immigration and
more fairly and effectively handle legal immigration.

Reno said that she will increase the number of Border Patrol
agents at the San Diego/Tijuana border by an additional 200
Border Patrol agents this year. These 200 new agents are in
addition to the 378 Border Patrol agents hired and redeployed to
the San Diego border last year; the new Border agents will be
aided by 24 support personnel.

When coupled with last year's increase, the 200 new Border
Patrol agents will mean that agent strength on the line will have
increased by nearly 60 percent since 1992, an unprecedented
infusion of resources. The increase is part of the Clinton
administration's ongoing support for Operation Gatekeeper, a
border enforcement initiative that has deterred illegal border
crossers and contributed to a 32% decrease in apprehensions from
October through December 1994, as compared to the same period in

"We are committed to improving the security of this nation's

borders," Reno said. "And we have already begun to make a
difference in California thanks to Operation Gatekeeper's
combination of new personnel, new technology and new equipment to
targeted areas along the border."

"We are also serious about enforcing the immigration laws

and providing the tools the INS needs to do its job." In
addition to the 200 new Border Patrol agents, California will
also receive:

​ Better Port Enforcement. New federal immigration border

inspectors for California ports of entry -- more than 100
new inspectors will be added -- to strengthen the INS'
ability to detect illegal entries and facilitate legal
entries at ports.

​ More Prosecution of Repeat Crossers. San Diego U.S.

Attorney Alan Bersin will launch a stepped up attack on the
problem of criminal aliens in California through the use of
new fingerprint identification technology, more staff and a
revised prosecution policy. With these efforts, he
anticipates tripling the number of aliens prosecuted for
illegal entry after deportation. (From 280 prosecutions up
to 800-1000 per year.)
​ Increased Deportation of Criminal Aliens. A two thirds
increase in the deportation of criminal aliens through the
California Institutional Hearing Program (IHP) will be
achieved this year, by dedicating 27 new INS staff and more
immigration judges for this sole purpose. Such deportations
will grow from 3,000 a year to 5,000 under the plan.

​ Real Asylum Reform. To support the sweeping reform of the

asylum process announced last month, the Attorney General
said that she would double the number of asylum staff in
California by adding 131 new INS personnel and more
immigration judges. These additional personnel will speed
the process of denying spurious asylum claims -- and
accepting legitimate ones.

In each of these efforts, Reno said that new technology will also
be sent to California to improve INS' ability to perform its
critical functions, including helping the agency identify
criminal aliens and track them for prosecution and deportation,
cutting back dramatically on the amount of time that enforcement
officers spend on paperwork rather than in the field and creating
computer networks that will aid INS officers in determining a
person's immigration status.

She said, "providing the INS with the kind of basic and
state of the art technology to vastly improve the agency's
enforcement and service capabilities is a top priority." She
added, "state of the art technology and equipment that will be
installed throughout California by the end of the year is going
to make a tremendous difference in the number of people we catch
violating immigration laws and how we handle them -- as well as
providing better service to those people who are law-abiding."

Finally, Reno reiterated the Administration's commitment to

help states pay the costs of incarcerating criminal aliens who
are in the U.S. illegally from a fund requested by the President
and created by Congress in the Crime Bill. As announced in
October, California will receive $33.4 million in a first
installment of reimbursement monies over five years.

All of the new resources were appropriated by Congress in

the FY95 budgets of the Department of Justice and the Immigration
and Naturalization Service; many of the resources were authorized
by the President's 1994 Crime Bill.