INS REGAINING CONTROL OF THE SOUTHERN BORDER
INS REGAINING CONTROL OF THE SOUTHERN BORDER /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Illegal border
crossings are declining and drug seizures are increasing due to major improvements in enforcement at the U.S./Mexican border at the key San Diego sector, Gene McNary, commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), declared today.
"Just compiled fiscal year figures show that for the first time, significant progress is being made to regain control of our Southern Border," McNary said. "This is not only reducing illegal border crossings, but saving lives as well," he said. McNary pointed to several trends which demonstrate that enhanced border enforcement is having the intended affect of reducing both violence and illegal crossings, as well as increasing seizures of drugs: -- bandit-related homicides of illegal aliens have dropped from nine in the year before the fence to zero since the border fence was erected; -- aliens killed on the freeways near San Diego have declined to seven this year from 13 last year and a high of 38 in 1989; -- assaults against Border Patrol officers, a major indicator of the level of violence, have declined in two consecutive years, dropping to 97 in Fiscal Year 1992 from 132 in 1991 and 217 in 1990; -- window breakage on Border Patrol vehicles as a result of rocks thrown by illegal aliens has declined by nearly two thirds since 1989; -- Border Patrol cocaine seizures in the San Diego area increased eleven-fold in Fiscal Year 1992 over 1991 and marijuana seizures rose more than four-fold; -- apprehensions of illegal aliens declined last month in some major areas along the border compared with September 1991, most notably in the San Diego Border Patrol Sector, which accounts for nearly half of the total Southern border apprehensions. McNary attributed the dramatic improvement in the effectiveness of Southwest border control to several factors: repair and improvement of border fencing; the installation of lights; additional border patrol agents assigned to the area; the assistance of the Department of Defense in erecting fencing and improving border roads to enable better access by border patrol vehicles; and greater cooperation by Mexican authorities. The border patrol, with major assistance from the Department of Defense, has installed 14 miles of reinforced steel fencing, replacing and extending the tattered chain link and steel cable, which had proved to be little deterrent to determined unlawful border crossers. In addition, the border patrol has installed a mile of high intensity lighting along the key Tijuana River Channel crossing area, where illegal aliens have a run of 200 yards to disappear into the urban San Ysidro area. Also, consistent with McNary's commitment and under the direction of Attorney General William Barr, the number of border patrol agents assigned to the San Diego Sector has grown to 1,077, an increase from 750, which has been the strength since 1986. "The additions of the fence, lights and increased personnel are the
significant factors in gaining control of the border, along with the dedication of the border patrol officers, whose long efforts are being rewarded with resources to improve their effectiveness," McNary said.
The reduced numbers of highway deaths is attributed to several factors, including redeployment of border patrol officers west of the Interstate 5 Freeway, which reduces access to the highway by illegal entrants. Efforts by state and local officials and signs warning motorists are also factors. Nationwide, apprehensions of illegal aliens on the Southern border has held at the 1.1 million level over the past three fiscal years, but in the San Diego sector, which is the largest, they declined more than 6 percent in September from the same month in 1991. In San Diego, however, apprehensions inland from the immediate border have declined substantially, indicating the greater effectiveness of the border control program in preventing illegals from penetrating the first line of defense. McNary also attributed better cooperation from Mexican authorities, whom he has met with on numerous occasions, for the reduction in border violence. "The formation of the Beta Group in Mexico to police the border has been a major factor in the reduction of violence by border bandits," he said. Cocaine seizures in the San Diego sector rose to 7,529 pounds in Fiscal Year 1992 from just 682 the preceding year, while marijuana seizures rose to 37,642 pounds from 8,495. Nationwide, Border Patrol drug seizures totaled 5,070 in 1992, valued at $1.4 billion, compared with 4,727 valued at $979 million in 1991. -0- 10/31/92/1800 /CONTACT: Verne Jervis or Duke Austin of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 202-514-2648/ CO: Immigration and Naturalization Service ST: District of Columbia; California IN: SU:
DC -- DC018 -- 7244 10/30/92 15:35 EST
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|Date:||Oct 30, 1992|
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