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Arrests Triple on First Day of Crackdown at Border

October 03, 1994| Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — The first day of a major new border-tightening campaign saw arrests of illegal immigrants triple over the same one-day period last year, the U.S. Border Patrol said Sunday.

Saturday's start of "Operation Gatekeeper" recorded 825 apprehensions in this most porous section of the border, compared to 259 on the same day last year, said Gustavo De La Vina, western regional commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

"What used to be fluid entry into this area . . . we're taking that away from them," De La Vina said.

The operation is the federal government's attempt to duplicate its recent border-sealing Operation Blockade in El Paso. More than half of all illegal immigrant apprehensions are made along 60 miles of border here.

All of those stopped were fingerprinted and returned to Mexico, De La Vina said, adding that there were no incidents of violence, as some officials had feared.

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