Alan Bersin and John Morton: What We Are Doing to Secure Our Border

Alan Bersin, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have written an opinion piece today on securing our border. 

The full article can be read here, but if you do not have a WSJ subscription you can read it here. As always excerpts are below:

What we have seen on the border, at workplaces, and in communities across America in the past 18 months represents the most serious approach to enforcement we have witnessed in our careers.

At the border we have concentrated unprecedented amounts of manpower, infrastructure and technology. Today, the Border Patrol is better staffed than at any time in its history—nearly doubling in personnel since 2004 to more than 20,000 today. ICE has a quarter of all its personnel in the Southwest border region, also the most ever. There is more fencing and other infrastructure than ever before. And more technology, improving the ability to detect illegal movements at all times of day and night.

Much has been written on this blog about the unprecedented resources that The White House has allocated for securing the border, what has not been covered as much here is the new emphasis on U.S. - Mexico co-operation on border security.

We have engaged in high levels of cooperation with Mexico to crack down on smuggling. And we have provided more funding than ever before to local law enforcement in border communities to deal with border-related crime.

As a result, the numbers are clearly moving in the right direction: Last year, illegal crossings along the Southwest border were down 23%, to a fraction of their all-time high. Seizures of contraband rose significantly across the board in 2009—illegal bulk cash, illegal weapons and illegal drugs. By all measurable standards, crime in U.S. border towns has remained flat for most of the last decade.

While the emphasis on a renewed concentration on U.S. - Mexico cooperation is a welcome improvement to border security.

The real story here continues to be President Obama's allocation of huge sums of resources to securing our border

This administration knows that more can be done. That is why the president authorized the deployment of up to 1,200 National Guard troops to support federal law enforcement on the border. He has also asked Congress for $600 million in supplemental funding, which reflects the administration's understanding that the assets we have must be a permanent part of a long-term, systematic effort to deny, disrupt and defeat the activities of transnational criminal organizations that smuggle illicit drugs, people, weapons and bulk cash across our border with Mexico.