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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2003
PRESS BRIEFING BY SECRETARY TOM RIDGE WITH JOHN WALSH, MIKE GARCIA, AND ASA HUTCHINSON

1:30 p.m.
[ ... ]

QUESTION: First of all, how can you be sure that you've fixed the problem of these guys getting out of jail and immediately being nabbed and deported?

And I guess sort of the corollary to that, will you have enough resources? Because traditionally, the Immigration agents just did not have enough resources in order to round up, you know, whether they were absconders or people having served their sentences.

SECRETARY RIDGE: I think it's -- you ask a question, I think, that highlights one of the benefits of taking these different agencies and putting them into one department.

Now, under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau, we have literally hundreds more agents available to us if we target this mission in an area or region. I mean, that is one of the benefits of putting investigators together and those involved in enforcement together.

So now, Mike has the personnel to do far more in this area than he's ever had before, and clearly, with the concerted effort, we know there are illegals on the street or those who have done their time who are back out on the street, and we go after them and deport them, and now with this concerted effort, when the last day of their sentence has expired, we'll meet them at the front door of the prison and escort them to the border.

So again, we bring these resources together and make sure the information is shared. We've got more people to act on it. We don't guarantee a fail-safe perfect system, but it is a real plus-up, is really an enhancement of our ability to enforce the law, deport those who, because of these crimes, having done their time here, are therefore eligible and should and must and will be deported, and again, Mike will have additional people to do it because of the merger of the agencies.

QUESTION: It was announced before that today would be the day that the Department of Homeland Security would officially extend the temporary protective status for Salvadorians in this country, that would benefit 300,000 of them.

Is there an official announcement today on that?

SECRETARY RIDGE: Not yet, but we're having a meeting on that either later on today or tomorrow, so there will be an announcement forthcoming. Your calendar is pretty good.

Yes, please.

[ ... ]



11:01 A.M. EST

END

###



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