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Border security : hearing before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, March 10, 1995 online

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BORDER SECURITT

Y 4. J 89/1; 104/13

Border Security, Serial Ho. 13, 104...

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
IMMIGMTION AND CLAIMS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIAKY
HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION



MARCH 10, 1995



Serial No. 13




Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
93-884 CC WASHINGTON : 1995

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-047750-6



J \ BORDER SECURITY



Y 4. J 89/1:104/13



Border Security. Serial Ko. 1S» 104...

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
IMMIGRATION AND CLAIMS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIAEY
HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION



MARCH 10, 1995



Serial No. 13




Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
93-884 CC WASHINGTON : 1995

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-0A7750-6



COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HENRY J. HYDE. Illinois, Chairman



CARLOS J. MOORHEAD, California
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.,

Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEPHEN E. BUYER. Indiana
MARTIN R. HOKE. Ohio
SONNY BONO, California
FRED HEINEMAN, North Carolina
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
MICHAEL PATRICK FLANAGAN, Illinois
BOB BARR, Georgia



JOHN CONYERS, JR., Michigan
PATRICIA SCHROEDER, Colorado
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusette
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JOHN BRYANT, Texas
JACK REED, Rhode Island
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
XAVIER BECERRA, California
JOSE E. SERRANO, New York
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas



ALAN F. Coffey, Jr., General Counsel /Staff Director
Julian Epstein, Minority Staff Director



Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims

LAMAR SMITH, Texas, Chairman

ELTON GALLEGLY, California JOHN BRYANT, Texas

CARLOS J. MOORHEAD, California BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts

BILL McCOLLUM, Florida CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York

SONNY BONO. California HOWARD L. BERMAN, California

FRED HEINEMAN, North Carolina XAVIER BECERRA, California
ED BRYANT, Tennessee



CORDIA A. Strom, Chief Counsel

Edward R. Grant, Counsel

George FISHMAN, Assistant Counsel

Paul DROLET, Minority Counsel



(II)



CONTENTS



HEARING DATE



March 10, 1995 1

OPENING STATEMENT

Smith, Hon. Lamar, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas,

and chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims 1

WITNESSES

Bilbray, Hon. Brian, a Representative in Congress from the State of Califor-
nia 6

Coleman, Hon. Ron, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas 9

de la Vina, Gus, Regional Director, Western Region, Immigration and Natu-
ralization Service 42

Ekstrand, Laurie E., Associate Director, Administration of Justice Issues,
General Government Division, General Accounting Office, accompanied by
Weldon McPhail, Assistant Director, and Mike Dino, Evaluator in Charge,
Los Angeles Regional Office 102

Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative in Congress from the State of Califor-
nia 11

Meissner, Doris, Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service 21

Reyes, Silvestre, Sector Chief, El Paso Sector, Border Patrol, U.S. Inunigra-

tion and Naturalization Service 33

Ryan, Mary, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Department
of State, accompanied by Frank Moss, Special Assistant for Border Secu-
rity 16

Zysk, Brig. Gen. Edmund, deputy commander, California Army National
Guard, accompanied by Lt. Col. Bill Hipsley, training officer 113

LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING

Bilbray, Hon. Brian, a Representative in Congress from the State of Califor-
nia: Prepared statement 7

Brandt, Brig. Gen. Robert, assistant adjutant general, California Army Na-
tional Guard: Prepared statement 116

Coleman, Hon. Ron, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas:

Prepared statement 10

de la Vina, Gus, Regional Director, Western Region, Immigration and Natu-
ralization Service: Prepared statement 44

Ekstrand, Laurie E., Associate Director, Administration of Justice Issues,
General Government Division, General Accounting Office: Prepared state-
ment 105

Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative in Congress from the State of Califor-
nia: Prepared statement 14

Meissner, Doris, Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service:

Cases containing allegations of abuse by INS employees which were
opened in the INS Office of Internal Audit Case Management System

during the period May 1, 1994 to September 28, 1995 88

Criteria or standards a Border Patrol agent uses before deciding to either

question, detain, or apprehend an individual 89

Mexican prisoners actually repatriated 60

Percentage of Border Patrol resources devoted to interior or inland versus
on the Dorder activities 96

(III)



IV

P«ge

Meissner, Doris, Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service —
Continued

Prepared statement 24

Reporting and Resolving Allegations of Employee Misconduct (draft docu-
ment, section 287.10) 74

Statistics concerning persons with fraudulent documents intercepted at

JFK Airport 101

Total number of border patrolman currently in training at INS 58

Reyes, Silvestre, Sector Chief, El Paso Sector, Border Patrol, US. Immigra-
tion and Naturalization Service: Prepared statement 35

Ryan, Mary, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular AiTairs, Department
of State: Prepared statement 18

APPENDDCES

Appendix 1. — Statement of Hon. Gary A. Condit, a Representative in Con-
gress from the State of California 149

Appendix 2.— Statement of Ed McElroy, District Director, New York, Immi-
gration and Naturalization Service 151



BORDER SECURITY



FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 1995

House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims,

Committee on the Judiciary,

Washington, DC.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:30 a.m., in room
2237, Raybum House Office Building, Hon. Lamar Smith (chair-
man of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Lamar Smith, Elton Gallegly, Carlos J.
Moorhead, Fred Heineman, Ed Bryant of Tennessee, John Bryant
of Texas, Barney Frank, Howard L. Berman, and Xavier Becerra.
Also present: Cordia A. Strom, chief counsel; Edward R. Grant,
counsel; George Fishman, assistant counsel; Judy Knott, secretary;
and Paul Drolet, minority counsel.

OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN SMITH

Mr. Smith. Good morning. The Subcommittee on Immigration
and Claims will come to order.

We are going to start this morning with some opening state-
ments by members of the subcommittee. Then we are going to go
very briefly to Members of Congress who have asked to testify this
morning. Then we will begin with the official three panels that are
part of today's hearing.

I will recognize myself for an opening statement and then we will
go to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Bryant.

Securing our Nation's borders against illegal immigration is the
first priority of our immigration policy. An effective policy would
accomplish both prevention of illegal immigration and apprehen-
sion and deportation of those illegal immigrants who have man-
aged to enter our country.

Today's hearing will focus on prevention strategies. We will ad-
dress deportation issues in a subsequent hearing. Preventing the
entry of illegal aliens requires screening of visa applicants over-
seas, examining persons arriving in the United States at airports,
seaports and land borders, and securing the land borders of our
Nation. It is amazing that until recently so little has been done to
actually stop illegal immigration at its source by preventing people
from crossing the border without permission.

It took the insight of a single person to change our whole outlook
on this issue. Starting in September 1993, Border Patrol Chief
Silvestre Reyes of El Paso placed his agents directlv on the border
and ordered them to stop all attempts to cross the border illegally.

(1)



Despite skepticism in some quarters, Chief Reyes* plan, Oper-
ation Hold the Line, has been effective. It has dramatically reduced
immigration in the El Paso sector, reduced crime, improved rela-
tions with the Border Patrol in the community, and won public
support.

Chief Reyes has revolutionized the way the U.S. secures our bor-
ders. He has turned U.S. border policy at least in the El Paso sec-
tor from one of apprehension to one of prevention.

Since Operation Hold the Line started, attitudes toward border
enforcement has never been the same. The Immigration and Natu-
ralization Service has a five-step plan to secure the entire South-
western border. In San Diego, the INS has implemented a new ef-
fort, Operation Gatekeeper, about which we will hear more during
the testimony this morning. The administration has stated border
enforcement will be a focal point of immigration policy and it has
requested additional resources.

These are positive developments, but we have to make sure that
reality matches the rhetoric. Here in some instances the signs are
less encouraging. For example. Congress in the 1994 crime bill au-
thorized 700 more Border Patrol agents for this fiscal year, but the
administration did not assign any of these agents to El Paso.

The strategy in El Paso, placing agents directly on the border,
has been highly successful. But a different strategy has been adopt-
ed in San Diego. More aliens are allowed to enter illegally when
the Border Patrol attempts to apprehend and remove them.

In addition, while the administration has asked for more re-
sources for the INS, they scale back funds for anti-illegal immigra-
tion efforts carried out by the State Department overseas. Consular
officers, who are one of the first lines of defense against illegal im-
migration, are overworked and must often complete interviews of
visa applicants in 2 to 3 minutes. Antifraud efforts are not being
given the priority that current world conditions should demand.

We will address these and other issues, and I believe today's
hearing will be one of the most important that this subcommittee
will hold. Securing our borders is not about excluding. It is about
choosing to affirm the rule of law.

Illegal immigration is unfair to all Americans, and it is unfair es-
pecially to those immigrants who followed the rules and often wait-
ed years to immigrate legally to the United States.

We are going to secure our borders. It will be done fairly and
firmly. The question is how to do it and what resources are needed.
And that is what today's hearing is all about.

I will recognize the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Bryant.

Mr. Bryant of Texas. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am glad we
are having another one of these hearings. We are regularly nolding
these hearings to move us right along to accomplish our goal to try
to figure out what to do to improve the immigration legislation and
also what kind of legislation will pass this year.

I don't know anybody in Congress who is for more illegal immi-
gration. Everybody is for stopping it since we passed the 1986 bill,
now almost 10 years ago. I think, though, there has been a wide-
spread sense that we haven't achieved our goals, clearly, and that
seems to be supported by the empirical data.



I am glad the INS agreed to let Mr. Reyes come today. There
seemed to be some problem early on. His plan seems to be working.
I have the same question the cnairman does about why we would
use a different system in San Diego where statistically it indicates
they are not having the same success there.

So I look forward to hearing from Mr. Reyes. I also look forward
to hearing from Ms. Meissner about why they chose a different di-
rection in San Diego. I also look forward to hearing from Congress-
men Coleman and Hunter. You gentleman are in the territory
where this is happening. I thank you and the responsive people you
represent, and I look forward to hearing you testify.

Mr. Smith. Any other Members? The gentleman from California.

Mr. Berman. Mr. Chairman, just hearing both preceding Mem-
bers in a sense question the idea of using the same tactic, why
aren't we using the same tactics in the San Diego situation as we
are using in El Paso, I think it is certainly open to discussion, but
I just hope people before they come to a firm conclusion, give the
INS witnesses a chance to explain their logic for a different ap-
proach in both cases, because I think it is a debatable — it is not
a settled question that it is a mistake to use it. I think there are
some very good arguments for why a different approach is being
used in San Diego.

Mr. Smith. We are looking forward to hear the witnesses today
and we look forward to hear more in that regard.

The gentleman from California, Mr, Moorhead.

Mr. Moorhead. Thank you. I look forward to this oversight hear-
ing today and encourage this subcommittee to move forward at the
end of the 100 days with strong recommendations on how to stem
the tide of illegal immigration.

For years, the Federal Grovernment has not devoted the resources
needed to stop the flow of illegal immigration at the border, and
to deport those who are in our country in violation of the law. This
failure has imposed an unfair burden on California's ability to pro-
vide public services such as education, health care and law enforce-
ment, to our law-abiding residents.

Along with more than 40 cosponsors, including the entire Califor-
nia Republican delegation, all of the Republicans on this sub-
committee, Duncan Hunter and I have reintroduced H.R. 1018, the
Illegal Immigration Act of 1995 which you, Mr. Chairman, coau-
thored last year.

This legislation provides a basic framework for controlling illegal
immigration and is the most comprehensive reform bill ever intro-
duced in Congress. San Diego is by far the busiest border crossing
in the world with over 56 million legal crossings and more than 1
million illegal crossings each year.

In 1986, when Congress adopted my amendment to the Illegal
Immigration Reform Act, authorizing a 50-percent increase in our
border strength, our agent force was just over 3,000 today. Our cur-
rent online force holds steady at just over 4,000. I understand the
administration has planned to increase that because of last year's
legislation to over 5,000 by the end of this year.

Although the INS boost of a 51-percent increase in Border Patrol
staffing from 1993 to 1996, I am discouraged by the fact it has



taken us nearly a decade to reach this percentage of increase since
IRCA.

In September 1993, an unprecedented initiative was launched to
control illegal entry into the United States through El Paso. Oper-
ation Blockade entailed continuous reassignments of agents to El
Paso from interior enforcement to direct detail on the border. This
plan, still in effect, was immediately successful and enjoyed over-
whelming public support.

We have a different operation underway in San Diego right now.
I am concerned that it has not been successful. Apprehensions in
San Diego have been on the rise in 1995, and now exceed the level
for the same period in 1994. I am not convinced that we cannot
hold the line in San Diego, as we have done in El Paso, and I am
interested in hearing the testimony from the wide range of Border
Patrol experts on our panel.

I think it is critical that the Congress provide the necessary re-
sources and support to enable our Border Patrol to perform the dif-
ficult task of policing and protecting our borders.

The most distinguished Chairwoman of the Commission on Im-
migration Reform made it clear to this subcommittee last week
that the border is our first line of defense against illegal immigra-
tion.

We all know it is not the only line of defense we must employ.
But we must start somewhere. If we can hold the line in San Diego
as we have done in El Paso, I believe it will make a tremendous
difference.

Mr. Berman. Will the gentleman yield? I thank the gentleman
for yielding.

Just very quickly, the one question I would just like to raise is,
while I think in many cases the question of the number of arrests
as an indicator of the number of successful illegal crossings may be
a good barometer, there are reasons, especially given the increase
we have already seen in deployments, to at some point assume that
the number of arrests may be also — or in some situations, rather
an indication of a more effective presence on the border.

I don't think it is just axiomatic that in all situations one should
assume that because arrests have gone up, it means there are more
illegal crossings.

Mr. MOORHEAD. I think it is pretty clear, though, that we have
not really gotten control over the situation. The number of illegals
in the United States is growing, it has been growing for some time.

Mr. Berman. There is no question about it. All I am saying is,
finding a standard for measurement and what it is from an accu-
rate point of view, not from a partisan point of view but just from
a scientific point of view, is an open question, as far as I am con-
cerned.

Mr. Smith. As I said a minute ago to the gentleman from Califor-
nia, that is one of the reasons we are having the hearing today,
and I expect we will explore that further as we go along.

The gentleman from California, Mr. Becerra.

Mr. Becerra. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to thank the chairman for convening this hearing and I
also wish to associate myself with some of his remarks, especially
that remark which I think is key to this particular hearing, when



he said that the issue is that of prevention, not of apprehension,
because what we should be doine is trying to stop folks from com-
ing into the country without autnorization, because once they are
here, we know how difficult it is to find them and deport them,
that truly prevention is the way to best go about this particular
issue.

I do want to point out how I differ from a number of members
on this committee, and the debate we have seen on the whole issue
of immigration, because I think oftentimes when we think of border
enforcement, we think not just of being tough but the whole issue
of being rough. I think in the past we have seen instances where
the Border Patrol has shown it is not just been tough, it has been
rough.

And we have seen cases where we pay the price of the Border
Patrol having been too rough. And I think we have seen marked
improvement, and I appreciate the work of the Commissioner in
INS to make efforts to ensure that when we do increase the size
of the Border Patrol force, we have the most equipped, the most
prepared individuals serving this country along the border. That is
a very tough job, especially right now with the scarce resources
over the years that the INS and the Border Patrol has had to do
its job.

See, I know it is one of those where you are darned if you do and
you are darned if you don't, because you don't get the support that
you need. Hopefully, we will find the Border Patrol will be given
the resources it needs to do the iob right, and to do it right in the
eyes not just of those of us on this side, but of those on the other
side of the border as well.

I would hope we don't use this charged atmosphere on the issue
of unauthorized immigration into this country to move against
those who are authorized to be in this country, the legal immi-
grant, and quite, unfortunately, I think I see these days an attitude
that any immigrant is bad.

I don't understand why there are proposals in this Congress at
this time to deny someone who is a taxpaying resident in this coun-
try, someone wno has raised a family here, someone who may in
fact have served in the Armed Forces of this country in time of
war, yet there are proposals to take away benefits for which these
people have paid, law-abiding people who are on their way to be-
coming citizens, yet we would take away from them benefits totally
unrelated to immigration. I think that is a complete reversal of
what we talk about when we talk about the American dream or the
work ethic in this country.

I would hope what we would see is that we should focus our at-
tention, when it comes to unauthorized immigration, where we
should, and when it comes to legal immigration and legal residents,
where we should.

Finally, I mention that when we deal with the whole issue of un-
documented immigration and we talk about it in terms of the bor-
der, we should not forget that over 50 percent of those who are con-
sidered undocumented in this country come across legally. They
come across for some form of visa, whether it is a student visa or
a visitor's visa, they come across with every indication that they
have a right to be here for a short period of time.



The problem is, they don't leave. And that is something that the
Border Patrol can't stop, can't do anything about, because those are
folks who if they show that permit, are entitled to come into this
country. The problem is, as I said, they don't leave. We have to find
a better way of dealing with more than 50 percent of the problem
of the undocumented population.

But I return to my point, which I hope we will have a chance
to stress here today. I will be asking the witnesses to discuss with
me as well, and that is the whole issue of what we have done not
only to be tough but to ensure we have not been rough at the same
time.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Smith. Thank you. Are there any other opening statements?

If not, we will go to the first panel, consisting of three Members
of Congress who are here today. We are just going to take them
in alphabetical order. We will start with Brian Bilbray from Cali-
fornia.

STATEMENT OF HON. BRIAN BILBRAY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Mr. Bilbray. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the chance to be able to testify before
this committee. As a lifelong resident of the border region, in fact,
I would say that I am probably living closer to the border than any
other elected official in California. The bullring by the sea is in my
front yard. I also happen to be a son of a legal immigrant, a war
bride who came in here in 1944.

But the issue before you is the issue of enforcement of American
law and American territory. It is hard for me to explain to my
neighbors that we have traveled all over the world as a nation
since 1914, securing the national frontiers of other countries, but
the greatest power in the world has not chosen to secure its own
national territory.

Now, it is not an issue, Mr. Chairman, that only affects the Unit-
ed States. We are talking about an issue that affects the human
beings who are trying to come across the border and those neigh-
bors to the south. Last year the county of San Diego, which I
served as a countv supervisor, spent $150,000 just sending bodies
back to Mexico. These were people who died in the pursuit of com-
ing into this country, in a manner they thought this country really
didn't care about.

I also want to remind you there are nine dead police officers in
Tijuana who were assassinated, including the police chief, by peo-
ple who make their living smuggling aliens and the drugs across
the border.

In the words of a Governor of California, America must control
its no man's land and not allow one square inch to be used by these
people who are preying on the most vulnerable in our society. And
that society is on both sides of the border.

Operation Gatekeeper has one major flaw. It accepts as a given
that we are not going to be able to control all parts of our country
along our frontier, that we will have a no man's land.

I have got to say as somebody who lives down there, I think the
initial move was a step in the right direction. But anybody who



tells you that we have solved the problem needs to come down to-
morrow night when the rains come and the floods come, and we
will see how many illegals drown on U.S. territory because Ameri-
cans are not enforcing their laws in their area.

Mr. Chairman, I also need to point out there are maior problems
with the Customs operations, the crossings across the Doard. There
is so much money being made in drugs and illegal alien activity


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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JBorder security : hearing before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, March 10, 1995 → online text (page 1 of 18)