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Immigrant Advocates Call Smuggling Crackdown Hypocritical

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announced a new program to crack down on human smugglers at San Diego's border crossings today. Meanwhile, immigrants' rights advocates called the so-called humanitarian anti-smuggling initiative hypocritical. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has more.

Secretary Chertoff announced the details of the initiative at the San Ysidro border crossing. He says enforcement personnel will be more visible, technology will be improved, more canines will be used, and local, state and federal agencies will share intelligence.
He says the U.S. Attorney will also prosecute more smuggling cases.

Chertoff emphasized cracking down on human smuggling is a national security issue and a humanitarian one.

Chertoff: "If we can deter people from crossing the border, we are going to save their lives."

But Christian Ramirez with the American Friends Service Committee says the Department of Homeland Security is far from a human rights advocate.

Ramirez: "Under the watch of the Department of Homeland Security, this border has become more violent as a result of their poorly implemented tactics."

Chertoff did not know how much money would be dedicated to the new program. Amy Isackson, KPBS news.

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