Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano joined local law enforcement leaders and elected officials from communities along the Southwest border at the White House today for a roundtable discussion on the ongoing collaboration among federal, state and local partners to keep our border communities safe and secure while facilitating legal travel and trade.
"Protecting communities along our borders is vital to our homeland security, as well as our economic prosperity," said Secretary Napolitano. "We are committed to working with our federal, state and local partners to continue to strengthen our border security efforts while expanding legal trade and travel."
During their meeting, Secretary Napolitano spoke about the historic results this Administration has achieved through federal, state and local partnerships. Since 2009, DHS and partners across the federal government have deployed unprecedented levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border. The Border Patrol is better staffed today than at any time in its 87-year history with more than 18,500 agents along the Southwest border, more than double the boots on the ground a decade ago.
In addition, DHS has provided $167 million in Operation Stonegarden funding to Southwest border law enforcement agencies -- a record amount -- to support overtime costs and other border security related expenses. To continue to support local law enforcement and first responders across the country, Secretary Napolitano highlighted the importance of the American Jobs Act--which would provide $5 billion in assistance to states and local communities to create or save thousands of police and first responder jobs.
Secretary Napolitano also discussed the country's close partnership with Mexico to facilitate legitimate trade and travel and encourage economic development in border communities. Mexico is America's second largest export market and strengthened security along the border has helped safely expedite trade and travel.
Secretary Napolitano was joined by Calexico, Calif. Police Chief James Neujahr, National City, Calif. Police Chief Alfonso Gonzales, Hidalgo County, Texas Sheriff Lupe Trevino, Webb County, Texas Sheriff Martin Cuellar, Laredo, Texas Police Chief Carlos R. Maldonado, Brownsville, Texas Police Chief Carlos L. Garcia, as well as the Calexico, Calif. Mayor Luis J. Castro.