Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: U.S.-Mexico Border Violence Is Diminishing

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano gave a major speech today on Border Security, the full speech can be read here:

It is a long speech, and for the sake of space and time, below is the section on the Southwest Border Initiative, which for my money has the most substance, enjoy:

"It was clear from the outset of this Administration that we needed a reinvigorated approach to border security and immigration enforcement. In March, 2009, we launched the Southwest Border Initiative:

  • We increased the size of the Border Patrol to more than 20,700 agents today, which is more than double the size it was in 2004.
  • We doubled personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces, which work to dismantle criminal organizations along the border.
  • We increased the number of ICE intelligence analysts along the border focused on cartel violence. In all, a quarter of ICE’s personnel are now in the region – the most ever.
  • We quintupled deployments of Border Liaison Officers to work with their Mexican counterparts.

And we began screening southbound rail and vehicle traffic looking for the illegal weapons and cash that are helping fuel the cartel violence in Mexico.

With the aid of $600 million supplemental requested by the Administration and passed by the Congress in the summer of 2010, we’re continuing to add technology, manpower, and infrastructure to the border. That includes:

  • Adding 1,000 new Border Patrol Agents;
  • Adding 250 new CBP officers at our ports of entry;
  • Adding 250 new ICE agents focused on transnational crime;
  • Improving our tactical communications systems;
  • Adding two new forward operating bases to improve coordination of border security activities; and
  • Adding additional CBP unmanned aircraft systems. In fact, we’ve now instituted Predator Unmanned Aircraft System coverage along the entire Southwest border – from the El Centro Sector in California to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas.

President Obama authorized the deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops who are now actively assisting us in our work along the border.

We announced $150 million in Operation Stonegarden funds in 2009 and 2010 to help local law enforcement jurisdictions along the border pay for things like overtime. $123 million went to Southwest border states – more than ever before.

In partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Defense, we have achieved initial operational capability for the new Border Intelligence Fusion Section within the El Paso Intelligence Center.

And we’re continuing to work with Mexico to develop an interoperable, cross-border communications network that will improve our ability to coordinate law enforcement and public safety issues."