SAN DIEGO — Gustavo De La Vina, the chief agent of the Border Patrol's busy San Diego sector, has been promoted to western regional director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The appointment was announced Tuesday by Commissioner Doris Meissner of the INS, the patrol's parent agency.
De La Vina, a 55-year-old Texan who has worked 24 years in the Border Patrol, came to San Diego in 1990. He inherited the sensitive, high-profile command of an often-tense sector, where agents guarding a 15-mile strip make about half the million-plus yearly arrests on the border.
The regional director's post has been vacant for about a year, with various people acting as interim director.
De La Vina launched a program to fortify the border with the installation of 10-foot fences, high-intensity lights and an increase in personnel and equipment. Those measures, along with improved cooperation with Mexican law enforcement, have been credited with decreasing crime and violent confrontations at the San Diego-Tijuana border during recent years.