By Ron VandenBoom
A 60-percent increase in the number of illegal aliens apprehended during the first quarter of fiscal year 2000 has agents in the Havre Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol concerned about manpower and Canadian cutbacks.
Recent financial cutbacks by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has reduce its presence in more remote areas of the border, placing greater strain on the U.S. Border Patrol on this side, said Robert Finley, chief patrol agent in the Havre Sector.
This comes at a time when not only the number of illegal aliens is on the rise, but a dramatic increase in the smuggling of drugs and guns over the border has also seen an increase, Finley said.
Finley offered no explanation why the Havre Sector is experiencing increases at this time, but he did say the Havre Sector is experiencing "a serious shortage of personnel."
More manpower is something Finley said he has been working on, but he quickly added that he didn't feel staffing was a problem that could be solved anytime soon.
"It has always been the policy of the Border Patrol to assign all new agents to the southern border," he said, adding that it would take a long time for new agents to be trained and even more time before agents currently in the south could be sent here.
The Havre Sector is currently making up the difference with the use of hi-tech devices, motion detectors, video, and air surveillance.
In October 1999, Havre agents apprehended one Chinese alien and three additional illegals from China, India, and Pakistan, were picked up at the Havre Amtrak Depot in November 1999.
Finley said the number of aliens has increased since the start of the new year and have all been the result of transportation checks currently being conducted at the Havre depot.
Agents apprehended Chan Sung Zhen, a citizen of China on Amtrak in October. After arriving in Seattle as a ships crewman, he had jumped ship meeting up with Fai Chuan Wang, a legal resident of the United States who came from the same town in China as Zhen.
Wang had traveled from New Jersey to meet Zhen and both subjects were traveling to Alabama at the time they were apprehended.
Zhen was processed as a ship jumper and Wang was released.
Guo Qiang Chen was apprehended at the Havre depot on Nov. 2, 1999, and was also a seaman that jumped ship in Seattle. He was traveling to New York with his cousin, Xin Hui Liu, when apprehended. Chen was returned to his ship.
Both cases are similar in that Wang was a recruiter for Chinese cooks and was found to have numerous telephone numbers for different restaurants in several different states. Liu, when apprehended, claimed to own four restaurants in Long Island, N.Y. where he planned to employ Chen as a chef.
Apprehended at the Havre depot on Nov. 4, 1999 was Tehseen Anjum, a citizen of Pakistan. He was traveling from Virginia to Pasco. Anjum claimed that he was smuggled into the country by an "agent" that used a valid passport and visa issued to someone else. He entered the United States through JFK.
Darbara Singh, a citizen of India, was apprehended at the Amtrak Depot on Nov. 15, 1999, claiming he paid more than $15,000 to be smuggled from India. He entered the United States with a valid passport and visa. The passport and visa belonged to an unknown person and was supplied by a smuggler. Singh was traveling to Chicago when apprehended.
Border Patrol agents in the final months of 1999 also apprehended citizens of Tanzania and the Sudan, and three Lebanese who ran the port-of-entry at Turner Montana.
The Border Patrol has recently started offering a $2,000 signing bonus to qualified individuals wanting to become agents. Prospective candidates should call 202-616-1964 or go the Border Patrol on-line at www.usajobs.opm.gov to learn more about becoming an agent.