AG CONTACT: RON ROGERS (415) 705-3102 OR (714) 643-4739

AG RENO ANNOUNCES NEW AGENTS AND RESOURCES TO STRENGTHEN OPERATION GATEKEEPER AND CUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION 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 1993. "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. ### 95-003