INS Won't Open Office Near Neighborhood

In face of objections from residents and city officials, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has decided against opening an office, which would have included six jail cells, in an office building bordering a Santa Ana neighborhood.

Mayor Miguel Pulido recently announced the INS will instead move its sub-office into the federal office building under construction on Santa Ana Boulevard in the Civic Center.

Dozens of residents in the Washington Square neighborhood protested when they heard about the agency's plan to move into an office building at 801 Civic Center Drive. They worried that the office would draw more traffic to the area.

The INS wants to create an office in Orange County that would provide a full range of services--from processing benefits to immigration law enforcement.

The office would eliminate the need to travel to district headquarters in Los Angeles.

Officials have said they plan to close INS offices in Westminster and Laguna Niguel and move those employees to Santa Ana.

The INS has about 200 employees in Orange County.

Pulido said he was pleased with the decision to move to the new federal building. He said he too feared the office would have a negative effect on the surrounding neighborhoods.

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