Homeland Security offers plan for border security

| Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Following emergency declarations in Arizona and New Mexico, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced plans to step up security along the southern border of the United States.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 23, Chertoff said his department is planning to go beyond the measures that have already been implemented, such as hiring more border agents and installing more surveillance cameras.

The New York Times reported that Chertoff pledged to bolster the deportation process to prevent illegal immigrants from being freed by an overcrowded detention system. Chertoff said plans include adding more beds for detainees and expediting deportations by making more judges and lawyers available.

“If you have not arranged for the beds, you have not arranged to remove them, you are going to have to release them,” he said. “That is completely a waste of time.”

Chertoff also pledged to do more to track down illegal immigrants who do not appear for deportation hearings by a doubling of the search teams used in these missions.

In addition, Chertoff said his department was mapping out the border and looking for weak spots in order to determine how to best deploy 1,000 new Border Patrol agents that Congress will provide for 2006.

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