Desert Invasion - U.S.
Border control initiative runs into troubles
By Susan Carroll and Daniel Gonzalez, Tucson Citizen, June 3, 2004
NOGALES - The federal government's plan to control illegal immigration and cut deaths along the Arizona-Sonora border this summer is over its budget, understaffed and behind schedule.
When Department of Homeland Security officials launched the Arizona Border Control Initiative in March, they said the agency planned to add 260 agents, four helicopters and two unmanned aerial drones, and expand detention space to hold illegal immigrants.
The effort was supposed to be in full swing by Tuesday. But more than half of the promised U.S. Border Patrol agents have not arrived, officials have scrapped plans to add tents for detained immigrants [illegal aliens], and the drones remain on the ground...
Hutchinson said arrests of illegal immigrants in the state have increased to 3,000 daily from an average of about 2,000 a day since March.
The plan announced in March called for adding 260 agents on the Arizona border this summer, including 200 who would be assigned permanently to the Tucson sector. The remaining 60 agents, members of tactical and search-and-rescue teams, arrived in March on temporary assignments from other Border Patrol sectors. In April, officials sent an additional 50 agents to temporarily help in Arizona.
But the 200 experienced agents still are not on the job...
In March, federal officials announced plans to erect seven air-conditioned tents to accommodate the increased number of migrants [illegal aliens] caught by Border Patrol agents. The tents, estimated to cost $2 million and house about 300 people, no longer are part of the plan...
While apprehensions in the Tucson sector are up 59 percent from last year, there is evidence migrant traffic is being pushed into New Mexico, and there appears to be a shift back into the San Diego area, said Wayne Cornelius, a political science professor and border expert at the University of California at San Diego...
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