CBP, DHS Officials Discuss 21st Century Border
To counter an erroneous and negative portrait of life in southwest U.S. border cities, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar spoke today at a Washington, D.C., event about effective partnerships with state, local, tribal and international governments-particularly Mexico.
Southwest border efforts "are producing significant and tangible benefits," said Napolitano in her address at a discussion and webinar on the 21st century border hosted by NDN at the Newseum. "It is inaccurate to state, as too many have, that the border is overrun or out of control."
Napolitano said that while she is "deeply concerned about the drug cartel violence" in Mexico, it is wrong to inaccurately portray the border "to score political points."
"It disrespects the significant efforts of the law enforcement personnel who work day in and day out to ensure that we have a safe border region," said Napolitano.
During a panel discussion that followed the secretary's remarks, Aguilar noted the recent economic and population growth experienced by several southwest U.S. border cities at the same that their violent crime rates have dropped. He described as "unprecedented" the collaboration of CBP and other DHS agencies with Mexico, "one of our most valued trading partners."
"We protect our border, we protect flows of people, trade and commerce," said Aguilar, "to protect our safety and protect our economic competitiveness."
Joining Aguilar on the panel, hosted by NDN President Simon Rosenberg, were:
Krieger, mayor of western Arizona city that had experience very fast growth since 2000, said that he and other American southwest mayors seek "a comprehensive approach to border security," but do not require "sealing the border." They want to continue government funding for expedited legitimate cross-border traffic.
"I'm not in denial about the challenges we face with the [Mexican] drug cartels," said Krieger. "But we're tough."
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.