Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Immigration Service Plans Ambitious Agenda Commissioner Doris Meissner, Pledging More Manpower and Technology, Is Asking Congress for a 22 Percent Budget Increase

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Immigration Service Plans Ambitious Agenda Commissioner Doris Meissner, Pledging More Manpower and Technology, Is Asking Congress for a 22 Percent Budget Increase

Article excerpt

FEDERAL officials, under sharp criticism, are vowing to do better next year in their efforts to stem the flow of illegal immigrants to the United States.

First, however, they need more money.

Doris Meissner, commissioner of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, is asking Congress for $2.1 billion for the coming fiscal year. The new immigration budget, up 22 percent, would put the INS on a financial par with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

America's population of illegal migrants grows by approximately 1,000 a day, and big receiving states like Florida, California, and Texas are demanding that President Clinton and Congress take action.

Ms. Meissner pledges that, with a combination of more money, manpower, and technology, the flow of undocumented immigrants will come under better control in 1995.

"We intend to have 1,010 more Border Patrol agents on the line by the end of 1995," she told a Senate appropriations subcommittee this week. The added front-line manpower will consist of 500 new agents, plus 510 current officers, such as drivers and radio technicians, who are being reassigned to enforcement.

Sen. Ernest Hollings (D) of South Carolina, chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, state, and judiciary, listened to Meissner's plans with what appeared to be some skepticism.

Mr. Hollings pointed to a recent incident in Florida, where the president permitted a boatload of more than 400 Haitians to land at Miami. If past procedures are followed, most of the Haitians will be permitted to settle in Florida, and many will go on welfare.

Why aren't these people detained by federal officials if they can legally be excluded? Hollings demanded. On Tuesday morning, the senator says he called a federal judge in South Florida, who said from 60 percent to 80 percent of the undocumented aliens released into the community never show up for their immigration hearings.

The result is a growing burden on Florida taxpayers. …

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