Secretary Napolitano and Distinguished Panel Discuss Progress on 21st Century Border

NDN/NPI hosted a key note speech from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano where she outlined the positive progress made along the Southwest Border. In her speech the Secretary emphasized that the Department of Homeland Security has made significant steps towards creating a "21st Century Border."

In her speech she focused on tangible evidence that the United States has fundamentally changed the countries approach to the border, making big steps in creating a more harmonious region.

The border is simply not the same as it was 2 years ago, or even 1 year ago. In terms of man power resources and technology and in terms of the relationships we have built with our federal, state, local and tribal partners along the border and in terms with what we are doing with Mexico itself, particularly with the Calderon administration.

...The amount of resources we have put at the border with Mexico shows how serious this administration is, so given the deployment of resources, given the statistical frame work; it is simply inaccurate to state, as to many have that the border with Mexico is overrun or is out of control. This statement i think is sometime made to score some political points.

...But its wrong, It is just plain wrong, and continuing to make these assertions in the face of everything that’s happening and everything that’s been done, not only has negative consequences for our own border communities but it also disrespects the significant efforts of the law enforcement men and women we have put down on that border who work every day, day in and day out to make sure that we do have a safe and secure border region and that we keep it that way.

Following the speech, a distinguished panel met and gave remarks followed by a session of Q and A. The panel included: John Morton, Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, David V. Aguilar, Deputy Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Alan Krieger, Mayor, Yuma, AZ and Al Zapanta, President, U.S. Mexico Chamber of Commerce. The video of the full event including the panel discussion can be seen below.

David V. Aguilar, Deputy Commissioner, U.S Customs and Border Protection opening statement gives some statistical evidence that shows the progress on the border. This can be seen in the video around the 56:30 mark:

If we go back to 1992 places such as San Diego, Tucson, El Paso, and McAllen four of our major cities along our southwest border. Since then those cities have grown tremendously. In  2009 violent crime in San Diego has fallen by 20 percent, in Tucson it has fallen by 17 percent, in El Paso it has dropped by 34 percent and 7 percent in McAllen. McAllen the population has growth has gone up by 33 percent since that time period, 23 percent in El Paso. The growth rate has been tremendous the drop in violent crime has been tremendous as well. We have doubled the number of people in the border patrol, over 17,500 border patrol agents along the southwest border.

Additionally Secretary Napolitano and the Secretary of the Department of Commerce Gary Locke have written an editorial on the border being open for business in the Wall Street Journal and can be read here.

NDN has also released a report detailing the progress made on the border here.