(Host) Vermont will receive more resources to patrol the border with Canada, according to the head of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. James Ziglar announced in Swanton Wednesday that Vermont would be assigned 20 new border patrol agents and 48 additional inspectors. That’s on top of 79 agents and 83 inspectors who now work out of this office.
Ziglar, who spoke at the Swanton Border Patrol Sector Headquarters, said the INS wants to maintain a balance between security and the role the border plays in the economies of Canada and the U.S. He said that the new resources were the result of a new Northern Border Strategy to address public safety concerns along the 4,000 mile border:
(Ziglar) "This strategy, which clearly we’re refining, tuning, in the light of September 11, relies on deploying more personnel, providing them with the tools and the infrastructure they need to do their job. But most important, it has to do with building partnerships on both sides of the border, with our friends to the north."
(Host) For the whole country, Ziglar said Congress authorized an additional 245 border patrol agents and 500 inspectors for this fiscal year. He said the agency has requested even more inspectors and border patrol agents for 2003.
According to Ziglar, the National Guard will continue to provide administrative and air operations support. The boost in resources has also brought the Swanton sector its first helicopter.
Besides the additional agents and inspectors, Ziglar said that technology will play a large part in border security:
(Ziglar) "Our current budget and the counter-terrorism supplemental that I mentioned earlier have provided for the expansion of the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System, which links sensors and video cameras in remote areas to a central monitoring station."
(Host) Ziglar reassured Vermonters not to be concerned over proposed restructuring of the INS. He will be in Burlington today to meet with Border agency officials and their Canadian counterparts.