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INS ignores presence of illegal aliens

3/12/01 - Sacramento Bee

UKIAH, Calif. -- Farm workers here are wary of a new Immigration and Naturalization Service office and have been keeping their children home from school and staying home themselves for fear illegal workers will be deported.

The lone INS agent staffing the office has started meeting with Hispanic groups to help ease their fears.

Residents need not worry because the INS no longer searches out illegal aliens, spokeswoman Sharon Rummery said. About 40 percent, or 2.4 million, of the nation's estimated 6 million undocumented workers are in California.

Today, the INS concentrates more on crimes by both legal and illegal aliens, such as violent crime involving gangs and drugs, Rummery said. If, during one of those investigations, INS agents find someone who has come to the U.S. illegally, they will likely be deported, Rummery said.

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