U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin was in El Paso, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 13, to serve as the keynote speaker of the seventh annual Border Security Conference hosted by the University of Texas at El Paso. The theme of the two-day event was "Re-Envisioning the Border Community to Foster a U.S.-Mexico Partnership for Prosperity, Progress, and Socio-Economic Development."
The conference brought together several hundred leaders from the public and private sectors in both countries. It provided a forum for the exploration of the best methods of safeguarding a common border while continuing to foster the human and economic development of our two nations.
Bersin spoke to the group for approximately 25 minutes followed by a question and answer session. The commissioner reminded the audience that border security is a shared responsibility and while many accomplishments have been achieved, it remains a work in progress. He challenged audience members to "stay the course" as the U.S. and Mexico move towards a new spirit of cooperation in border security.
Bersin also discussed his vision for a 21st century border which requires "giving up old ways of seeing the world" and recognizing that that infrastructure and staffing requirements will generally be behind the needs of the community. Knowing that. Bersin challenged border business and civic leaders to develop ideas on how to help CBP create secure transit zones that meet the needs of the agency and border areas.
In addition to the hundreds that attended the keynote address in person, the speech was also seen by those who watched it stream live on the Our Border website. (Our Border) Commissioner Bersin thanked the audience for their support of CBP and made a commitment to continue to be involved in the annual event.
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.