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
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.