[Congressional Record Volume 142, Number 39 (Wednesday, March 20, 1996)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E390-E392]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          ENFORCEMENT STRATEGY


                             HON. ED PASTOR

                               of arizona

                    in the house of representatives

                        Tuesday, March 19, 1996

  Mr. PASTOR. Mr. Speaker, as the House begins debate on an immigration 
reform bill, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service's [INS] efforts to control 
illegal immigration along the United States' southern border. The 
administration has made the enforcement of our borders a high priority, 
and for the first time in recent memory the INS has the resources to 
seriously undertake this responsibility. Both Attorney General Janet 
Reno and INS Commissioner Doris Meissner have made personal visits to 
the border, with the Commissioner visiting Nogales, AZ, as recently as 
last month. Commissioner Meissner and Attorney General Reno are to be 
commended for their efforts at border enforcement, and I submit for the 
Record an outline of the INS's successful comprehensive Southwest 
border enforcement strategy.

 The Immigration and Naturalization Service: Building a Comprehensive 
                 Southwest Border Enforcement Strategy

                              I. Overview

       The Clinton Administration has made control of illegal 
     immigration a top priority and has worked to provide the 
     Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) with the 
     resources necessary for an enforcement strategy that will 
     make a difference quickly and sustain itself over time. The 
     Administration focused immigration control efforts first on 
     the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border. Years of neglect had left 
     the Southwest border an open invitation to illegal 
     immigration. The INS did not have the personnel or the 
     equipment to properly control this important frontier.
       For the first time, the Clinton Administration developed a 
     coherent strategy to restore the rule of law to the Southwest 
     border. This strategy is backed by adequate resources and 
     broad community support. The Administration's goal is 
     unambiguous: a border that deters illegal immigration, drug 
     trafficking, and alien smuggling and facilitates legal 
     immigration and commerce.

              II. A Comprehensive Border Control Strategy

       The international boundary between the United States and 
     Mexico divides two countries with dramatically different 
     economies, but many shared values, commercial interests and a 
     shared history. It is a border that runs through communities. 
     It is also a border that is used by migrants from Mexico and 
     around the world to enter the United States illegally. It is 
     a border that is today experiencing tremendous immigration 
       INS developed a multi-year border enforcement strategy both 
     to facilitate legal travel and commerce between the United 
     States and Mexico, and to aggressively enforce the nation's 
     immigration laws. The plan is comprehensive, recognizing that 
     the various regions of the border are interconnected, and any 
     action on one part of the border affects conditions along 
     other parts of the border.
       The Administration's border control plan has several key 
       To provide the Border Patrol and other INS enforcement 
     divisions with the personnel, equipment and technology to 
     deter, detect and apprehend illegal aliens;
       To regain control of major entry coordiors along the border 
     that for too long have been controlled by illegal immigrants 
     and smugglers;
       To close off the routes most frequently used by smugglers 
     and illegal aliens and to shift traffic to areas that are 
     more remote and difficult to cross illegally, where INS has 
     the tactical advantage;
       To tighten security and control illegal crossings through 
     ports of entry; and
       To make our ports of entry work for regular commuters, 
     trade, tourists and other legitimate traffic across our 
       These objectives are essential to effectively deter illegal 
     immigration into the United States. The over-arching goal of 
     the strategy is to make it so difficult and so costly to 
     enter this county illegally that fewer individuals even try.
       The Administration developed an ambitious plan to achieve 
     these objectives. It involved the strategic deployment of 
     resources, equipment and technologies in concentrated areas 
     of illegal activity. In the past, INS resources were spread 
     out along the length of the border. This deployment plan 
     diminished the effectiveness of Border Patrol agents, 
     vehicles and sensors. By contrast, INS first targeted 
     deployment of new resources to the San Diego and El Paso 
     sectors. These two sectors alone historically accounted for 
     approximately 65 percent of all Border Patrol apprehensions. 
     INS has also deployed significant new resources in Arizona. 
     This concentrated approach has enabled INS to gain a greater 
     degree of control in these two regions. As we regain control 
     in these areas, we are working to expand control to other 
     corridors of illegal entry.

              iii. putting effective strategies into place

       The 2,000-mile border contains many distinct areas with 
     wide-ranging topography, histories and crossing patterns. INS 
     designed strategies for each area consistent with the 
     comprehensive approach and the over-arching goal of deterring 
     illegal immigration.
       INS began by concentrating resources in areas that have 
     long been major corridors for illegal immigration. The agency 
     launched Operation Hold the Line in El Paso, Operation 
     Gatekeeper in San Diego, and Operation Safeguard in Arizona. 
     INS has continued to strengthen these operations with new 
     agents, tightened enforcement at ports of entry, and a 
     crackdown on alien smugglers.
     Operation Hold the Line
       INS launched Operation Hold the Line in El Paso, Texas to 
     close the holes in what had become one of the most porous 
     areas of the U.S.-Mexican border. Before Operation Hold the 
     Line, 18 percent of all illegal crossers caught entering the 
     United States were apprehended in this area. INS redirected 
     54 Border Patrol agents to the Sector in FY 1994, and added 
     50 new agents in FY 1995 to support Operation Hold the Line.
       With Operation Hold the Line, the Border Patrol developed a 
     high visibility strategy to deter illegal alien traffic into 
     El Paso. The strategy was based on the specific crossing 
     patterns, the characteristics of the illegal crossers in El 
     Paso, and the flat terrain of the region. The majority of 
     aliens apprehended by the Border Patrol in El Paso have 
     historically been commuters--traveling from Juarez, Mexico to 
     El Paso on a regular basis to work, shop or visit with 
     friends and relatives. Most tried to enter the United States 
     directly through downtown El Paso. Accordingly, the Border 
     Patrol focused on a strategy of deterring these crossers, 
     placing Border Patrol agents directly on the line at regular 
       The Operation has proven to be tremendously effective. 
     Apprehensions in the sector dropped significantly. In 
     addition, the crime rate in downtown El Paso is down, and it 
     appears that many short-term illegal crossers have been 
     deterred from entering the United States. Traffic at the El 
     Paso ports of entry has risen, and INS has applied law 
     enforcement and facilitation strategies there.
       At the same time, while many illegal crossers are deterred, 
     a number of more determined crossers are shifting their 
     routes of entry to the outskirts of El Paso. INS is 
     responding to these shifts in traffic by adding additional 
     agents to support outlying stations, building fences, and 
     providing agents with sophisticated equipment and 
     technologies to track and apprehend aliens who cross in 
     remote regions.
     Operation Gatekeeper
       For years, before the Administration launched Operation 
     Gatekeeper, the Border Patrol in San Diego fought a losing 
     battle. The border was overridden with illegal alien traffic. 
     Nearly 25 percent of all apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexican 
     border took place along the 5-mile stretch between San Diego 
     and Tijuana known as Imperial Beach. A 14-mile stretch in San 
     Diego--which includes Imperial Beach--has historically 
     accounted for as much as 40 percent of Southwest border 
     apprehensions. Before Operation Gatekeeper, illegal aliens 
     openly congregated on the U.S. side of the border while 
     waiting for an opportunity to head north. Many areas of 
     Imperial Beach belonged to smugglers, illegal aliens and 
     criminals who preyed on aliens and U.S. residents alike.
       San Diego has historically been a main point of entry for 
     illegal crossers coming to the United States from the 
     interior of Mexico. Unlike El Paso, there are fewer 
     ``commuters.'' The vast majority of illegal crossers are 
     highly motivated and try repeatedly to enter. Many hire 
     smugglers to help them evade the Border Patrol. The terrain--
     a combination of rugged canyons, mountains, forest areas, and 
     mud flats, along with heavily

[[Page E391]]

     populated communities almost directly on the border--makes 
     the work of the Border Patrol even more difficult.
       On October 1, 1994, the Attorney General announced 
     Operation Gatekeeper, a coordinated effort by the INS, the 
     Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of 
     California and the Executive Office of Immigration Review. 
     Operation Gatekeeper was designed to use a multitude of tools 
     to increase INS' enforcement capacity in San Diego and to 
     address the specific challenges of the region.
       The Clinton Administration deployed new agents, time-saving 
     equipment, state-of-the-art technology and an effective 
     strategy to begin to reclaim the border in San Diego. The 
     Operation sought first to control the 5-mile area of Imperial 
     Beach, and then to expand control eastward throughout the 66-
     mile Sector. This strategy has proven effective, and 
     intensive enforcement efforts have shifted traffic east to 
     areas that are more remote and where the Border Patrol has 
     more of a tactical advantage.
       As traffic has shifted away from Imperial Beach, INS has 
     continued to beef up the Border Patrol presence along the 
     remaining 61 miles of the San Diego Sector. However, illegal 
     immigrants have often resorted to hiring smugglers to help 
     them evade the Border Patrol. Others attempt to enter 
     illegally through a port of entry using a fraudulent 
     document. In May of 1995, INS launched Operation Disruption 
     to crack down on smugglers and close off smuggling routes. 
     The agency has also taken steps to tighten enforcement at 
     ports of entry in San Diego.
       INS continues to fortify the entire San Diego border and 
     will strengthen the control achieved to date with substantial 
     new resources this fiscal year.
     Operation Safeguard
       Over the course of the last 2 years, as INS enhanced border 
     security in El Paso, Texas, and San Diego, California, INS 
     anticipated that traffic would shift to Arizona. By the end 
     of 1994, apprehensions in Arizona had climbed 59 percent 
     above the levels at the end of 1993.
       The Department of Justice launched Operation Safeguard to 
     enhance the security of the Arizona border. INS detailed 
     agents to Arizona to handle the increase flow of illegal 
     alien traffic in the area until permanent agents could 
     arrive. The goal of the operation was to redirect illegal 
     crossings away from urban areas near the Nogales Port of 
     Entry to open areas that the Border Patrol can more easily 
     control. The Border Patrol used its enhanced force to deploy 
     agents almost directly on the line along the four critical 
     miles of the border. The agent deployment, combined with new 
     fencing, has allowed the Border Patrol to enhance control in 
     this critical area in Nogales.
     Bridging Enforcement Across California and Arizona
       On January 16, 1996, the Clinton Administration implemented 
     a new initiative to strengthen and link Operations Gatekeeper 
     and Operation Safeguard. INS accelerated the deployment of 
     new personnel and resources--including 200 detailed Border 
     Patrol agents, 40 detailed inspectors, and 60 special agent 
     investigators--to further deter illegal crossings into 
     California and Arizona.
       The new initiative has three critical components:
       First, with the addition of new equipment and personnel in 
     San Diego, INS will expand the area of control in San Diego 
     from Imperial Beach to Chula Vista to the east.
       Second, INS has linked Operation Gatekeeper in California 
     with Operation Safeguard in Arizona. Through the use of 
     checkpoints and airport monitoring, the agency is closing off 
     routes used by illegal aliens and smugglers to evade the 
     Border Patrol in areas of heightened enforcement. As part 
     of this effort, the Department of Justice has strengthened 
     it current coordination with the military as the work at 
     the border on counter-drug enforcement activities in 
     California and Arizona.
       Third, INS has been working closely with local law 
     enforcement and plans to formally establish a federal-local 
     partnership to enforce federal, state and local laws along 
     the border. Local law enforcement agencies across California 
     and Arizona will provide the Border Patrol and immigration 
     agents with assistance by providing transportation, security 
     and other support. The Justice Department will reimburse 
     local law enforcement agencies for the extra assistance they 
     provide INS in immigration enforcement.

 iv. providing the border region with resources to effectively control 
                               the border

       Three years ago, the Border Patrol was understaffed and 
     gravely handicapped in its ability to patrol the front line. 
     Agents spent too much time on administrative duties, filling 
     out paperwork by hand or on manual typewriters. Agents were 
     often stranded because of broken-down vehicles, or left idled 
     with radios or other equipment in need of repair. A shortage 
     of vehicles forced agents to leave the line open during shift 
     changes--allowing illegal crossers to enter the United States 
     unimpeded at regular intervals during day and night. Too few 
     roads, inadequate lighting and too little fencing in key 
     crossing areas further hampered the work of the Border 
       Over the last 3 years, the Clinton Administration has used 
     every resource at its disposal to implement a plan that 
     brings the highest crossed corridors in key urban areas under 
     control. INS has deployed hundreds of new Border Patrol 
     agents. It has provided agents with advanced technologies to 
     catch illegal crossers and criminal aliens. Agents now have 
     state-of-the-art equipment and vehicles. The Federal 
     Government has built miles of roads and fences, and installed 
     lighting to enhance effectiveness across the border. Over the 
     course of this year, the INS will continue to strengthen the 
     border with new agents, inspectors, vehicles and other 
     equipment, fencing, lighting, and technology.
     New Border Patrol Agents
       In fiscal years 1994 and 1995, the Clinton Administration 
     sought and received funding for a total of 1,150 new Border 
     Patrol agents. Of these agents, more than 500 new agents have 
     been deployed in San Diego, more than 140 in the El Paso 
     Sector, with 510 agents going to Tucson, Del Rio, Laredo and 
       In FY 1996, 800 new Border Patrol agents are targeted for 
     assignment to the Southwest border. These enhancements will 
     increase the size and effectiveness of the Border Patrol. In 
     addition, 200 Border Patrol positions will be redeployed from 
     interior locations in the United States to further strengthen 
     the Border Patrol presence along the front lines of the 
     Southwest border. With the new agents to be added this 
     fiscal year, the Border Patrol force will have increased 
     by more than 40 percent in just over 3 years.
     New Land Border Inspectors
       INS hired 110 new land border inspectors with FY 1995 
     funding and will hire 536 new inspectors for ports of entry 
     along the Southwest border with FY 1996 funding. The 
     additional inspectors to be added this year will increase 
     current staffing levels by 50 percent--the most significant 
     port of entry staffing increase in the history of the agency. 
     These inspectors are crucial to facilitate legal traffic and 
     commerce and to tighten enforcement at our ports of entry 
     along the border. INS has an ambitious plan in place to 
     facilitate legal traffic through ports of entry along our 
     Southern and Northern borders. With new personnel and 
     technology, INS is taking steps and piloting programs to 
     reduce waiting times for people legally entering the United 
     States. These steps include designated commuter lanes, an 
     automatic entry system for pre-screened travelers, and other 
     improvements in our processing systems. These steps will 
     reduce the inconvenience of waiting to enter the United 
     States at our ports of entry without sacrificing the security 
     of our borders.
     Vehicles and Equipment
       Over the past 3 years, INS has expanded the fleet of Border 
     Patrol vehicles with the purchase of more than 1,500 new 
     vehicles and more than 900 replacement vehicles. INS will 
     continue to purchase two new vehicles for every three agents 
     hired. Now, with an adequate vehicle fleet, agents can change 
     shifts without sacrificing enforcement on the line and 
     without creating a window of opportunity for illegal 
     Fencing the Roads
       Over the past several years, INS, with the support of 
     military personnel and the National Guard, has built many 
     miles of fencing along the border to control drug 
     trafficking, alien smuggling, crime, and illegal immigration. 
     In San Diego, the Federal Government completed 7 miles of 
     fencing by 1993 and, with continued construction over the 
     last 3 years, there are now 23 miles of fencing in the 
     Sector. In Tucson, INS has started construction on a fence 
     project and in the Yuma, Arizona Sector, the agency has built 
     close to 6 miles of fencing.
       With continued support, INS plans to build the following 
     new fences this year: 8 miles of fencing in the Campo Station 
     section of the San Diego Sector; 3 miles of fencing in El 
     Centro; 4.7 miles of fencing at the Nogales Station area in 
     the Tucson Sector, completing a project started this past 
     year; and 2.3 miles of fencing in El Paso--including a one-
     mile fence in the Anapra/Sunland Park, New Mexico area and 
     1.3 miles at the Roadside Park area.
       INS will build roads to access the fencing and along the 
     entire length of the fences, just as it has done in previous 
     fence construction.
       Over the past 2 years, lighting projects in areas of San 
     Diego have proven tremendously effective and have established 
     the need for additional border lighting. With brightly 
     shining lights, smugglers and illegal crossers cannot evade 
     detection by the Border Patrol or other law enforcement 
     personnel and it is harder for criminals to prey on victims 
     in the dark. In 1995, the San Diego Sector installed 5 miles 
     of lighting in the Imperial Beach Station, and other parts of 
     the Sector have utilized portable lights pending the arrival 
     of permanent fixtures.
       This year, INS will install additional lighting in San 
     Diego and El Paso. The key areas to be lit are those east of 
     the San Ysidro Port of Entry stretching to the San Ysidro 
     mountains in San Diego; the Anapra/Sunland Park, New Mexico 
     area; and along the Franklin Canal in the El Paso Sector.
     High Technology Support for Enforcement Operations
       Over the past year, the Border Patrol has received state-
     of-the-art technologies to support the detection and 
     apprehension of illegal crossers. Twenty-five infra-red 
     scopes were deployed in San Diego and El Paso and 105 sensors 
     were placed along crossing routes

[[Page E392]]

     in San Diego, Tucson and Yuma, Arizona. The Border Patrol has 
     also been equipped with computer equipment to speed up the 
     time it takes to process illegal aliens--freeing up more 
     agents for work on the line.
       In addition, INS deployed a valuable new tool on the 
     border: the IDENT system. This new technology is an automated 
     fingerprint identification system that allows INS, for the 
     first time, to readily identify criminal aliens, track 
     illegal crossing patterns, and collect recidivism data. Over 
     the past year, this system has been deployed in parts of 
     California, Arizona and Texas.
       This year, we will make our agents even more effective with 
     the following new equipment:
       Additional sensors for every sector along the Southwest 
     border to detect illegal traffic;
       Portable radios for all new agents and new vehicles. In 
     addition, INS will install a new radio network in San Diego 
     to handle encrypted voice communication;
       Infra-red scopes across the border, including 16 to the San 
     Diego Sector, 5 to the San Diego repair facility, 6 to El 
     Centro, 7 to Yuma, 10 to Tucson, 6 to El Paso, 5 to the El 
     Paso repair facility, 6 to Marfa, 15 to Del Rio, 4 to Laredo, 
     and 8 to McAllen;
       New equipment and software for the Border Patrol's 
     computer-assisted dispatch system in San Diego; and
       The complete deployment of IDENT to each of the sectors 
     along the Southwest border and the installation of IDENT 

                    v. summary: a record of progress

       The Clinton Administration has made clear progress to date. 
     Today, the border is harder to cross than at any time in 
     history. INS is advancing each of the key objectives of the 
     border control strategy. It has secured areas of the border 
     where just 2 years ago aliens freely crossed with impunity. 
     As it has closed off traditional traffic routes, forcing 
     illegal crossers to remote regions and to use longer and more 
     arduous routes. In short, INS is successfully raising the 
     cost and difficulty of entering the United States illegally. 
     Communities across the Southwest border are encouraged by the 
     measures we have taken to date.
       The work that the Clinton Administration is doing on the 
     Southwest border is essential to restore the rule of law to 
     the region and to begin to control the problem of immigration 
     into the United States. However, to effectively control 
     illegal immigration, the Federal Government must remove the 
     magnet of illegal employment that draws illegal aliens to the 
     United States and must also protect our citizens from 
     criminal aliens.
       This Administration is committed to fighting the problem of 
     illegal immigration on each of these fronts. INS is working 
     with unsurpassed commitment not just to control the border, 
     but also to back up border enforcement efforts with the 
     aggressive enforcement of immigration laws at the worksite, 
     tough penalties on criminal aliens who return to the United 
     States, and an aggressive program to remove criminal and 
     other illegal aliens from the United States. The agency is 
     now armed with new resources to eliminate the job magnet and 
     restore integrity to our immigration system. The measures 
     being taken, and the enforcement plan at work, will bring 
     greater security to the region and to the country for years 
     to come.

           A Chronology of Progress on the Border: 1993-1996

     March 1993--14-mile Fence Completed in the San Diego Sector
       The San Diego fence, built with support of the military's 
     Joint Task Force 6, has rerouted illegal traffic, deterred 
     illegal entry and forced alien and drug smugglers to use 
     routes where the risk of apprehension is substantially 
     October 1993--Operation Hold the Line Launched in El Paso, 
       Operation Hold the Line employs an enhanced Border Patrol 
     unit to engage in linewatch operations in the metropolitan El 
     Paso area to effectively stop illegal immigration between El 
     Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
     October 1994--Operation Gatekeeper Launched in San Diego, 
       The Department of Justice deployed new agents, added 
     support staff to free additional agents to work on the line, 
     and provided the San Diego Sector with new technology, 
     including the prototype IDENT system, and equipment. INS uses 
     these and other new resources in an aggressive new strategy 
     to control illegal immigration into San Diego and to shift 
     traffic to areas where crossing is more difficult and the 
     risk of apprehension is greater.
     October 1994--Operation Safeguard Launched in Arizona
       Operation Safeguard utilizes a line-watching strategy, in 
     the Nogales and Douglas areas of Arizona. As part of the 
     Operation, and in order to channel illegal traffic to areas 
     of enhanced Border Patrol control, INS built part of a 4.7-
     mile metal fence in the Nogales Station area in 1995.
     January 1995--New Resources Deployed Across the Southwest 
       With new resources in FY 1995, INS announced that it would 
     add 700 Border Patrol agents to the Southwest border to bring 
     the on duty force to 4,400. These new agents are supported 
     with new vehicles, equipment and technologies, and well as 
     new roads, fences and lighting.
     May 1995--Operation Disruption Launched in San Diego
       With the INS border crackdown in San Diego, INS launched 
     Operation Disruption to disrupt established alien smuggling 
     routes and to prevent smugglers from developing new avenues 
     for illegal entry into the United States.
     June 1995--Phase II of Gatekeeper Launched in San Diego
       Building on the success of Operation Gatekeeper, a second 
     phase was launched to respond to changes in traffic patterns 
     and to address smuggling. INS placed additional agents in 
     East County and tightened security at ports of entry. In 
     addition, the agency announced that it would maintain and 
     improve checkpoints north of San Diego and a new temporary 
     checkpoint in East County.
     October 1995--Further Enhancements to Gatekeeper
       Attorney General announced the detailing of agents to San 
     Diego to beef up enforcement in East County and to reinforce 
     Imperial Beach and other areas of San Diego. She also 
     announced that INS penalties for fraudulent document users, 
     new detention space to support the border crackdown, and the 
     appointment of Alan Bersin, the U.S. Attorney for the 
     Southern District of California, to be her Special 
     Representative for the southwest border to coordinate the 
     work of all Justice Department agencies, harness resources 
     from throughout the Federal Government, and work with state 
     and local law enforcement.
     December 1995--IDENT Installed in Tucson, El Paso, McAllen, 
       The IDENT prototype system deployment continued, expanding 
     in areas east of San Diego and bringing the useful 
     apprehension and analytic tool to more Border Patrol sectors 
     along the Southwest border. By March, all nine Southwest 
     sectors will have the IDENT prototype installed.
     January 1996--Border Enhancements in California and Arizona
       INS detailed 200 agents from Western, Central and Eastern 
     regions of the United States to sectors in California and 
     Arizona and 100 investigators/special agents as an advance 
     deployment of FY 1996 resources. These new agents, along with 
     improved coordination with the military and the support of 
     local law enforcement, will increase control and further 
     deter illegal immigration into the United States during a 
     period when immigration pressures from Mexico are high.
     February 1996--FY 1996 resources are deployed to California, 
         Arizona and Texas
       Department of Justice announced the deployment of new 
     resources to be directed to the Southwest border. These 
     include the addition of 1,000 Border Patrol agents to the 
     front line and the extension of the border strategy to gain 
     control of additional sections of the border where there is a 
     high level of illegal traffic--providing significant support 
     for San Diego, Tucson, and El Paso and McAllen, Texas.