Daily Border Bulletin: Secretary Napolitano and Border Law Enforcement Officials - Border Strategy Is Working

NDN and the New Policy Institute welcomed a delegation of officials from the US side of the southwest border region. At meetings at NDN/NPI and in the White House, the delegation met with representatives from the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, the Office of Public Engagement and the Departments of State, Commerce and Homeland Security. Those meetings included a one hour session with the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.

Secretary Napolitano talked to news outlets after the meeting:  "One of the things that has happened in the past in the border is you would get a surge of effort for a few months or what have you, and then once the numbers started to turn around, the manpower would be withdrawn or the technology would be shifted around," she said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.

Napolitano hosted a White House round table discussion earlier Wednesday with border law-enforcement leaders from California and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

"And what we spoke about this morning in our meeting at the White House, and I think the local officials who were there made it very clear, is that this requires continued, sustained involvement and true partnership between federal agents and local police officers and sheriff's deputies," she said.

In another conversation with the press she noted: Electioneering tends to focus on border security and illegal immigration, pushing border commerce to the background, she said.

"Yes, it can be drowned out during a political year, but for those of us who know the border, who've lived on the border, it's just a clarion call to us to speak even more affirmatively about that area of the country and what's been going on there and give a more honest impression," said Napolitano.

Later on in the day NDN held a public event with Congressmen Reyes and Cuellar and a panel of border sheriffs and police chiefs.  At the event border local law enforcement officials directly refuted the notion that the border was a war zone:

"South Texas law enforcement officials and Democratic congressmen said claims by Republicans that the border has become a war zone were untrue and unfairly painted the border region as drenched in cartel violence. “The border is not in chaos,” said Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño. “We are not at ‘Ground Zero.'”

The accounts of the border being a war zone also fly in the face of all other statistical evidence:

"According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, the number of homicides reported in Hidalgo County in 2010 was considerably less than in other major metropolitan areas of Texas. In 2010, 36 homicides were reported throughout the county. That same year, Houston reported 269 homicides, Dallas reported 148, San Antonio reported 79, and Austin reported 38."

“There are horrible things happening in Mexico, but that stops at the river,” Treviño said. “U.S. authorities working together stop it at the river.”

For more on the event click here and here. For more on NDN/NPI’s work in this area, visit our new website, www.21border.com, and its YouTube site, http://www.youtube.com/21stcenturyborder, which features dozens of videos of leaders from the border region talking about the very real challenges and opportunities they face.