Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Commissioner Thomas Winkowski today traveled to Houston to meet with state and local stakeholders to discuss the need for commonsense immigration reform and underscore the Administration's efforts to secure the nation's borders. 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.
"The Administration's commitment to continuing to increase our nation's border security could not be more clear, but we also remain focused on strengthening security while also supporting the travel and trade that are vital to our economy," said Secretary Napolitano. "Commonsense immigration reform is the single most important thing we can do to sustain the historic progress we've achieved to secure our borders and enforce immigration laws."
During the meeting with state and local stakeholders, including leaders from the business community who are essential to the region and the nation's economy, Secretary Napolitano discussed the Department's continued partnership with border communities and the private sector to facilitate trade and travel, and focus enforcement on employers who break the law.
In fiscal year (FY) 2012, CBP processed more than $2.3 trillion in trade-- a 5 percent increase over FY 2011-- while enforcing U.S. trade laws that protect the economy, health and safety of the American people. CBP processed nearly 25 million cargo containers through the nation's ports of entry, up about 4 percent from last year. In addition, CBP conducted nearly 23,000 seizures of goods that violate intellectual property rights, with a total retail value of $1.2 billion, representing a 14 percent increase in value over FY 2011.
In January, President Obama announced key principles for commonsense immigration reform that would invest in the ports of entry, and help officers and agents focus on public safety threats; make it harder for transnational criminal organizations to operate, while encouraging immigrants to pursue a pathway to earned citizenship; hold employers accountable and strengthen the integrity of the immigration system overall.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.