Commissioner Bersin Provides a 'New Border Vision' During Visit to El Paso
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin was in El Paso, Texas today to meet CBP employees and continue a series of forums introducing a "new border vision" to local elected officials, stakeholders and citizens of border communities.
Bersin was in Laredo, Texas yesterday for similar tours and exchanges. (New CBP Commissioner Bersin Participates in Employee, Stakeholder Forums during Visit to Laredo, Texas)
Commissioner Bersin began his day conducting a town hall meeting with El Paso area CBP personnel.
He reminded the officers and agents to be safe, to take care of one another, and to keep up the great work. The Commissioner then initiated a 60-minute town hall meeting during which he discussed the importance of integrating all elements of CBP effectively and respectfully. He also stressed the need to maintain situational awareness because the growing level of violence in the border region.
"Let me start off with the acknowledgement of the critical role you play in protecting my family, your family and the American people, while you are at the forefront," said Bersin. "The eye of the storm is here, so be safe."
Following the meeting the Commissioner traveled to the University of Texas at El Paso, which plays host to the National Center for Border Security and Immigration. The center works closely with the Department of Homeland Security to develop technologies, tools and advanced methods to balance immigration and trade with effective border security. Commissioner Bersin was joined by U.S. Congressman Silvestre Reyes for a series of meetings and forums with elected officials, community leaders and area residents.
Commissioner Bersin introduced key elements of the border vision to the audience. He explained that while trade and security go hand in hand, the agency could better handle border security by continuing to adopt risk management principles and pushing enforcement beyond the traditional border. He also discussed a growing level of collaboration with the Mexican government in addressing border issues of mutual concern.
More than 220 people attended the largest of several forums during which they were given the opportunity to pose questions to the Commissioner. Members of the public expressed interest in added CBP staffing, trusted traveler programs, and immigration reform. Time was limited and the Commissioner urged those in attendance to sign up for the Our Border - A Border Civic Network where they can keep up to date on border issues and pose questions directly to the Commissioner and other DHS personnel. U.S. Border Patrol agents and CBP officers were stationed outside of the large public forum and assisted dozens in signing up and becoming part of a growing network.(Our Border)
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.