November 1995 Volume 2 Number 11
INS Trumpets Gatekeeper
On October 1, 1994, the INS launched Operation Gatekeeper--a system to prevent illegal entry by deterring aliens from attempting to enter the US with fences, lights, and three lines of agents-- on the US-Mexican border south of San Diego.
Attorney General Reno announced in mid-October, 1995 that the US Attorney for San Diego, Alan Bersin, would be a "border czar" responsible for coordinating US law enforcement efforts along the 2,000 mile US-Mexican border. The INS will open its first-ever courts at the port of entry, and prosecute smugglers.
In 1995, the INS has prosecuted 1,039 illegal immigrants for "felonious illegal entry," more than in the previous nine years combined. Most of those charged are persons with criminal records in the US attempting to reenter the US illegally. To hold them in jail until their trials, Reno announced that the US Navy had agreed to make space available in its San Diego brig.
Reno also announced that the INS would crack down on US employers who hire illegal aliens, presumably by adding investigators to do more workplace inspections.
As illegal immigrants attempting entry shift from the westernmost section of the border further east, homeowners in what were previously isolated areas have in a few instances taken vigilante action against them in retaliation for cutting fences etc. Several cases of homeowners beating aliens are under investigation.
In mid-October, six New Jersey police officers who removed foreigners from a private detention camp in June after they rioted to protest mistreatment were charged with abusing the asylum seekers while transferring them to a local jail (Migration News, July 1995). An investigation suggests that the police beat the foreigners, and made them chant "America is number one."
Anthony Faiola, "At US Entry Points, a Debate over Efficiency and Security, " Washington Post, October 30, 1995. Diane Lindquist, "Federal Officials declare San Diego border operations a model," San Diego Union-Tribune, October 28, 1995. Sebastian Rotella, "Reno names prosecutor as Border Czar," Los Angeles Times, October 14, 1995.