Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today traveled to Clint and El Paso, Texas to inspect border security operations at the Southwest border, meet with state and local stakeholders, and discuss the Department's on-going efforts to secure the border while facilitating lawful travel and trade. Over the past four years this Administration has dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border, and undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform our nation's immigration enforcement systems into one that focuses on public safety, border security, and the integrity of the immigration system.
"At DHS, we are committed to making sure that the entire Southwest border is secure while expediting legal travel and trade," said Secretary Napolitano. "We have matched this progress at the border with smart, effective immigration enforcement, with a focus on identifying and removing criminal aliens and other public safety threats, recent border crossers, repeat violators, and employers who break the law."
Secretary Napolitano visited the Fabens Border Patrol Station in Clint, Texas and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine branch in El Paso, Texas where she received operational briefings and participated in an aerial tour of the El Paso-Mexico border region.
In El Paso, Secretary Napolitano also met with state and local stakeholders, including El Paso Mayor John Cook, U.S. Attorney Robert Pittman, local law enforcement officials and representatives from CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to discuss the Department's continued partnership with border communities and law enforcement. During the meeting, Secretary Napolitano highlighted the Department's work with local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws while securing our borders.
Yesterday, Secretary Napolitano was in San Diego where she received an operational briefing on the maritime and land border in California, participated in an aerial tour of the U.S.-Mexico border and the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa Ports of Entry and met with state and local stakeholders.
Under this Administration, CBP has deployed proven, effective surveillance technology tailored to the operational requirements along the highest trafficked areas of the Southwest Border. CBP has more than doubled the size of the U.S. Border Patrol since 2004 to more than 21,300 Border Patrol agents today with staffing levels along the border at an all-time high.
Last week, President Obama announced key principles for comprehensive immigration reform that would continue to build upon this progress by investing in the ports of entry, and helping our officers and agents focus on public safety threats; making it harder for transnational criminal organizations to operate, while encouraging immigrants to pursue a pathway to legal immigration; and strengthening the integrity of the immigration system overall. The passage of the President's proposal will help make sure that officers and agents along the border are better able to focus on combating public safety and national security threats.