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Letter to Senators Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance - Confirm Customs and Border Protection Nominee

Dear Senators Baucus and Grassley,

We write you to vigorously encourage the confirmation of Alan D. Bersin as the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As you know, Mr. Bersin was nominated for this position by President Barack Obama in September 2009.

Mr. Bersin brings an extensive background of experience by having working as a law enforcement official, educator, and civil servant. Mr. Bersin served as Special Representative for the Southwest Border with responsibility to coordinate border law enforcement from South Texas to Southern California. Mr. Bersin advised the Attorney General on improvements in immigration law enforcement along the Southwest border in addition to overseeing anti-drug and human smuggling programs. Mr. Bersin also worked with the Mexican government and local partners on important transitional issues, such as cross-border commerce and immigration. From 1993 to 1008, Mr. Bersin served as the U.S. Attorney for California's Southern District wher he tripled felony prosecutions, resulting in the heaviest federal criminal caseload in the country. These prosecutions involved a full range of federal criminal violations, including immigration and narcotics offenses, in addition to violent and white collar crime.

As Members of the Border Caucus, we have had the distinct honor of working with Mr. Bersin since April 2009, as he has served as the Homeland Security Department's Assistant Secretary for International Affairs. In this position, Mr. Bersin has made great progress in building bilateral relationships with local, state, and international partners and has ensured coordination among U.S. law enforcement agencies along the border with Mexico. Mr. Bersin has been involved in the full range of border enforcement issues, from the northbound flow of drugs and illegal immigration from Mexico, to the southbound flow of guns and cash from the United States, all while trying to promote commerce and trade. Mr. Bersin recognizes that economic development goes hand-in-hand with ending the violence.

Now is not the time for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to be without a permanent leader. The most recent incident involving an attempted terrorist attack on Flight 253 highlights the fact that this agency needs to have a Commissioner with experience in border security and direction to ensure that our nation is in a position to be as safe and secure as possible.

Mr. Bersin would be a true asset to the nation given his great experience managing government border safety concerns. His wealth of experience would greatly aid the execution of the mission of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We urge you to confirm him as soon as possible.

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