Immigration officials are planning an aggressive program to deport illegal aliens who cannot prove they would be persecuted in their Central American homelands, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Few of the growing numbers of Nicaraguans and others seeking asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico have expressed fear of persecution, said a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Harlingen, Texas.Most "tell us they are here because they want to improve their lives, their standard of living," said spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

The number of aliens applying for asylum in Harlingen has numbered about 2,000 a week, up from 400 to 500 a week in June, she said.