Posted on August 4, 2004

Border Patrol Faces New Limits in Inland Empire

H.G. Reza, L. A. Times, Aug. 4

Two months after Border Patrol agents made a series of controversial arrests in the Inland Empire, federal officials are finalizing a policy to limit the agency’s operations in interior areas.

Documents and interviews show that Department of Homeland Security officials want to concentrate Border Patrol agents at the borders and limit their inland activity to arresting illegal immigrants while they are traveling from the border and at transportation centers such as Los Angeles International Airport and highway checkpoints such as those in Temecula and San Clemente.

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R.C. Martinez, Border Patrol spokesman in San Diego, said his office had received more than 2,000 e-mails and telephone calls applauding the June sweeps. The sweeps were ordered to be stopped by Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border and transportation security at Homeland Security, who said department officials had to approve them.

The proposed changes are being discussed at a time when a funding shortage has forced ICE administrators to curtail investigations and do more with fewer agents.