SAN DIEGO— U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowse concluded his visit to Southern California today where he met with officials and stakeholders from across the region. Commissioner Kerlikowske began his trip on Wednesday with operational tours of both the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport and Los Angeles International Airport.
“CBP relies on relationships with our local community stakeholders to provide insight and direction for our future needs as an agency,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “As an agency, CBP is committed to continued engagement with our community stakeholders to facilitate the flow of trade and travel across the border while protecting the country and local communities.”
On Thursday, Commissioner Kerlikowske participated in two roundtables. The first, hosted by the local South County Economic Development Council, included participation from SCEDC President Cindy Gompper Graves, Imperial Beach Mayor Jim Janney, Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano, Tijuana CDT President Humberto Inzunza, Rosarito EDC Board Member Eduardo Serrano, and Tecate Economic Development and Tourism Chair Hector Esparza.
The second, hosted by the San Diego Association of Governments, included participation from SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, City of Playas Mayor Silvano Abarca, Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom, Port of San Diego Chairman Bob Nelson, Chula Vista Councilmember Rudy Ramirez, the City of Playas de Rosarito Mayor Silvan Abarca, and the State of Baja California Undersecretary of Tourism Ives Lelevier.
At each meeting, leaders from chambers of commerce, legislative bodies, local organizations, and partners from the south side of the border discussed border security and facilitation topics. Participants also took time to praise recent initiatives and local outreach, as well as offer suggestions for future improvements.
Commissioner Kerlikowske also noted that construction is planned to begin in May for the Tijuana Cross Border Bridge that will link San Diego directly to Tijuana’s A.L. Rodriguez International Airport are planned to begin in May. The project is made possible through a public-private partnership with the project sponsor, Otay-Tijuana Venture.
Commissioner Kerlikowske also met with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer today to discuss the facilitation of trade and travel and its importance to the San Diego economy including the expansion of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the addition of more CBP Officers to the region, border infrastructure, and the Tijuana Cross Border Bridge.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.