CBP Deputy Commissioner participates in NAFUSA Annual Conference
Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar participated in this year's 2011 National Association of Former United States Attorneys annual conference in Santa Fe N.M., Sept.29.
Aguilar was invited to participate in a two-hour Continuing Legal Education Program , a five-person panel titled Southwest Border Issues.
Moderating this panel discussion was New York Times correspondent to the Department of Justice Charlie Savage, who posed challenging questions regarding the current state of border security for panelists to address.
Additional participants on the panel included General Secretary of the Center for Investigation and National Security Gustavo Mohar; Section Chief of the Research and Analysis Section of the El Paso Intelligence Center L.D. (Larry) Villalobos; Head of the San Diego Attaché Office of the PGR Mario Palmerin; and U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales, District of New Mexico.
When asked what CBP is experiencing, in terms of illicit activity at the border and with law enforcement operations in the southwest border region, Aguilar outlined the many challenges that currently exist in an effort to achieve satisfactory results.
"We have seen many successes and tragedies," he said. "We must secure the border. This does not mean that is a sealed border, but we must ensure economic and trade prosperity."
Aguilar made note of the many "achievements and successes" by outlining for attendees the steady decrease in apprehensions experienced by the U.S. Border Patrol in the southwest border region.
"The year 2000 was the peak of drug and narcotic seizures in the Southwest Border-we apprehended 1.6 million people in that year alone," he said. "As we close our [fiscal year], we have dropped from 1.6 million [apprehensions] to 348,000.... The border has become safe," he added.
In addition to discussing the various components that contribute to operational control of the borders, Aguilar gave credit to joint efforts made by international parties and he attributed a portion of those successes to the relationship that exist between the United States and the government of Mexico.
"The relationship between our countries is great ... [the relationship] started as a boxing match and now is great," he affirmed.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wrapped up the three-day conference as key note speaker Oct.1.
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.