An increase in the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service budget usually means good news for Imperial County.
While few like to see growing federal budgets and the tax increases that must fund those increases, few locally could deny that more INS money coming into this county is a good thing for the Imperial Valley in general. And few could deny that more Border Patrol agents in the El Centro sector is a good thing, too.
President Bush has proposed a generous INS budget that contains $75 million to hire 570 more Border Patrol agents in fiscal 2002, mostly for Southeastern California (meaning, specifically, us), Arizona and Texas.
Our area has become a key entry spot for illegal drugs and undocumented immigrants, and the best way to stop either of those actions is more agents on the front lines. Also helpful in the mission will be the high-tech surveillance system Bush has proposed to fund for the deserts and farm areas of the Imperial Valley.