WASHINGTON — * The Justice Department announced Sunday it is beefing up staffing along the United States-Mexico border in order to increase border security.
"This will be accomplished by strengthening enforcement against illegal immigration and violent crime by illegal aliens, and by enhancing our service in the area of lawful immigration," said Attorney General William Barr in a statement.
In addition, the new effort will create a National Criminal Alien Tracking Center, and will result in hiring more than 700 additional Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) workers to process immigrants.
Specifically, the effort includes:
* Three hundred new Border Patrol officers to help deter the movement of illegal aliens and drugs across the international boundary.
* Two hundred additional INS investigators, 150 of whom will be assigned to find and deport criminal aliens and work on special anti-violent crime and street gang task forces. The task forces would be in selected cities, including New York; Los Angeles; Miami; Newark, N.J. and Chicago. Fifty INS investigators will concentrate on enforcement cases against companies that hire illegal aliens.
* Establishing the National Criminal Alien Tracking Center, which will be funded in the first year with $1.5 million collected by INS fines. The system will allow law enforcement agencies to contact the INS 24 hours a day to identify and track criminal aliens.
* The Justice Department's Asset Forfeiture Fund will contribute $5 million to buy new lighting, sensors, vehicles, and other equipment to be used to deter illegal border crossings.
* $3.6 million will be used to pay for detention space to house exclusion cases at New York's Kennedy Airport; and to implement counterfeit-resistent "green cards."