Secretary Napolitano Highlights Gains In Safety And The Positive Economic Impact Of The Southwest Border

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano gave an address with NDN at the Newseum, she covered a wide variety of subjects below are some of the highlights.

“Security and economic prosperity represent two sides of the same coin,” said Secretary Napolitano.  “We are committed to further strengthening our border security efforts, which will reinforce and help expand legal trade and travel in the border region.” 

Over the course of her speech, Secretary Napolitano highlighted the Department’s efforts to strengthen border security through the Southwest Border Initiative.

To date the Southwest Border Initiative has:

  • Increased the number of Border Patrol agents from approximately 10,000 in 2004 to more than 20,700 today
  • Doubled the number of personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces
  • Deployed more than a quarter of all U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel to the Southwest border region—the most ever.

Perhaps most importantly, Secretary Napolitano highlighted the unprecedented collaboration between the United States and Mexico. 

The Secretary repeatedly noted that the cooperation between law enforcement officials from Mexico and the United States, the intelligence sharing and joint operations along the Southwest border is at unprecedented levels. 

The speech also touched on the important joint training programs with Mexican law enforcement agencies and, for the first time in history, Border Patrol agents are coordinating joint operations along the Southwest border with Mexican Federal Police to combat human trafficking and smuggling in both nations.

Finally the speech touched on the great strides made by the Obama Administration in facilitating legal trade and travel across the border by:

  • Working with local leaders to update infrastructure and reduce wait times at our Southwest border ports of entry while increasing security.
  • Working with more than 1,700 private-sector partners in Mexico who have been enrolled in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) trusted-shipper program,
  • Deploying 250 new officers to ports along the border as a result of the FY 2010 Border Security Supplemental. 

According to the Secretary these investments have yielded concrete results, with imports crossing the Southwest border into the United States increasing 22 percent from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2010.