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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 1995

AG (202) 616-2777 TDD (202) 514-1888

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CONSOLIDATES AIR FLEETS TO TRANSPORT FEDERAL PRISONERS AND CRIMINAL ALIENS WASHINGTON, D.C. -- America's newest airline doesn't offer vacation packages or rewards for frequent flyers. It's a Justice Department airline that transports convicts to prisons and illegal aliens back far across the border. More that 60,000 criminal aliens and prisoners were flown last year on 12 aircraft operated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Marshals Service, including two Boeing 727's, a DC-9, a Convair, a Gulfstream G-1 and four Sabreliners, totaling nearly 500 seats. Now, the two systems have been merged into a single, coordinated airline with regular routes, hubs and a feeder system, just like other airlines. The main hub will be in Oklahoma City. The consolidation was recommended by the Aviation Policy Working Group, under the guidance of FBI Director Louis Freeh. Freeh, as Director of Investigative Agency Policies, was asked by Attorney General Janet Reno to find innovative ways to improve the Justice Department's efficiency and effectiveness. "Maximizing the use of the air fleet is a good example of making government cost less and work better," said Reno. "This sort of reinvention is exactly what Vice President Gore had in mind when he launched the National Performance Review program." Nearly 40 cities will be served under the system. A major feature of the consolidation is a new 1,800 bed Bureau of Prisons transfer facility adjacent to the U.S. Marshals air facility at Will Rogers Airport. Many of the prisoners transitting through the Oklahoma City hub will be housed at this new facility. Prisoners will be transferred to and from the planes directly to the housing facility under maximum security. Criminal aliens will be shuttled to Oakdale, Louisiana, or Eloy, Arizona, for processing by immigration judges. Aliens ordered deported will be flown to their native countries either directly or through gateway cites. Planes returning to Oklahoma City after dropping off aliens will stop at various cities en route to pick up and transport federal prisoners to the Oklahoma City hub. The Aviation Policy Working Group also recommended that a 35-passenger FBI plane be used to feed passengers into the new system from a special Northeast route. that plane has already begun flying between New York City, Otisville, N.Y., Buffalo, Lewisburg, Pa., and Salisbury, Md. As an example of how the new arrangement works: Use of the FBI plane in the Northeast corridor last month freed other aircraft to transport 515 Mexicans to the Southwest border for deportation. It also freed another aircraft to return four Cubans directly to Havana.

Federal prisoners transported by air include inmates moving to their designated institutions, inmates moving from one institution to another, and inmates being moved for medical treatment or as witnesses or defendants in trials. On occasion, state, local an and military prisoners are transported. INS Commissioner Doris Meissner said, "For the first time, this system will enable the INS to have regularly scheduled flights throughout the continental U.S." She also noted the agency will benefit from centralized maintenance, scheduling and other administrative services, while maximizing the use of airline seats. Marshals Service Director Eduardo Gonzalez said, " The Marshals Service is proud of its proud air operations and and stands ready to assist in the critical mission of deporting criminal aliens." The INS estimates there are about 57,000 aliens who face deportation at the completion of their sentences, most of them in state prisoner facilities in New York, Florida California, Texas and Illinois. Lat year 21, 992 criminal aliens were deported, many of them to nearby countries in the Caribbean and Central America which can be reached easily by air. ### 95-192