New Border Vision Tour Stops in San Diego
Alan Bersin, the newly appointed Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection was in his native city of San Diego, Calif., Thursday. Commissioner Bersin had a full schedule that included meeting with CBP employees and hosting forums for local elected officials, stakeholders and citizens of the border community, where he presented his "new border vision."
Last week Commissioner Bersin was in a similar posture in the Texas border cities of El Paso and Laredo.
Commissioner Bersin began his day conducting a town hall meeting with more than 200 CBP employees, hosted by the San Diego Sector's Imperial Beach Station. Commissioner Bersin arrived at the station and was accompanied by the San Diego Office of Field Operations Acting Director Pete Flores. There they were met by Sector Chief Richard Barlow, Office of Air and Marine Air Operation Acting Director Marty Miles, Marine Operations Director Keley Hill and Patrol Agent in Charge Moses Zazueta.
The Commissioner's message was loud and clear - he appreciated the great work the officers and agents perform in protecting the country and, in light of the ever present dangers along the borders, asked for them to be vigilant, safe, and to take care of each other, saying: "Whether you are with the Border Patrol, Field Operations, or Air and Marine, I want to say how much I appreciate you, not only as your Commissioner, but as a resident of San Diego, as a father, husband, and American, for what you do for our country everyday."
He also stressed the importance of using our resources as a whole within CBP to "plus up" our resources and abilities to complete the mission.
During that townhall, he answered questions from employees that covered topics ranging from firearms standards to the new Arizona illegal immigration law.
After the townhall meeting the Commissioner, accompanied by the local CBP leadership, departed to have lunch with Jerry Sanders, the Mayor of San Diego and 15 other local officials.
Following lunch, the Commissioner and CBP leadership headed to the Point Loma Nazarene University, a Christian liberal arts institution located in San Diego and home to approximately 2,400 undergraduates and 1,100 graduate students. There, they hosted a roundtable discussion with 20 San Diego area stakeholders consisting of local government officials, educators and business leaders. During the open dialog, the commissioner listened to remarks and suggestions regarding border security, trade facilitation, and community safety.
At the conclusion of the roundtable discussion, the Commissioner and CBP leadership were welcomed into a larger townhall meeting with almost 200 attendees from the San Diego and Tijuana communities. The Commissioner spoke about the importance of CBP's mission, and the agency's dedication to finding the right balance to ensure security while facilitating legitimate travel and trade, and took several questions from the audience.
Following the town hall, and after answering a few questions from media in attendance, the group departed to Coast Guard Sector San Diego where they were met by Captain Thomas Farris. The commissioner was given an aerial border tour on an AStar helicopter, followed by a briefing and tour of the Joint Harbor Operation Center.
The long day concluded at around 7 p.m., with refreshments at the Coast Guard Station Dining hall.
Today, Commissioner Bersin is in Rosarito Beach, Mexico to attend a conference with local Mexican leadership and academics.
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.