Nov 3 2005
CHERTOFF ANNOUNCES NEW PLAN TO MINIMIZE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AT THE U.S./MEXICO BORDER
Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, this week outlined the federal government’s new play to minimize illegal immigration. According to Chertoff, reducing the amount of illegal immigration into the U.S. has become a major priority for the U.S. government after the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. The government has increased its security measures at points of entry throughout the U.S., but illegal immigration has not been maximally affected, according to Chertoff. In Fiscal Year 2005, for example, 1.1 million people were arrested along the U.S./Mexico border.
Chertoff’s new plan includes the following:
Adding an additional 1,500 Border Patrol agents to the current total of 11,000 agents;
Building additional fences and other physical boundaries. A 14-mile wall near San Diego has been approved for creation (against the outcry of environmental activists who believe the wall will create major ecological concerns in the area); and
Putting an end to the “catch and release policy” that enables tens of thousands of illegal aliens from nations other than Mexico to remain in the U.S. (In FY 2005, roughly 160,000 non-Mexican illegal aliens were caught. Due to limited detention space, 120,000 of these aliens were released. The majority of these released individuals did not appear for their court date
Interesting to note in Chertoff’s announcement is the quietude related to President Bush’s Guest-Worker program, a major portion of the federal government’s immigration reform plan. The program has received mixed responses from Congress and will not be considered until next year. The Guest-Worker program, which would enable undocumented workers (who had U.S. company sponsorship) to legally remain in the U.S. for a portioned period of time.