President Barack Obama today visited the El Paso, Texas port of entry Bridge of the Americas commercial cargo compound. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, CBP Commissioner Alan D. Bersin and El Paso Field Operations Director Ana Hinojosa accompanied the president during a tour of the facility.
"It was an honor for CBP to showcase the work we do at the El Paso port of entry," said Hinojosa. "In a short amount of time we were able to highlight the many elements of our enforcement mission and the tools we use on a daily basis to protect the American public in the commercial environment."
During the brief tour the President interacted with approximately 10 CBP officers, agricultural specialists and canine enforcement officers. Each had the opportunity to explain their role in the larger border security picture and answer questions posed by the President. CBP's El Paso Sector Border Patrol Chief Scott Luck and Director of the El Paso Air Branch Michael Wimberly also were able to greet the president upon his arrival.
"'Protect and promote' were themes of the port visit," said Hinojosa. "The president left here knowing that we are diligently screening all commercial vehicles while keeping the vital flow of international trade moving."
Following the tour the president visited the neighboring Chamizal National Memorial to deliver a speech on immigration reform. An enthusiastic crowd of several thousand listened as the President discussed his future plans during which he also recognized the past accomplishments of CBP.
"Over the past two and a half years, we've seized 31 percent more drugs, 75 percent more currency, 64 percent more weapons than ever before," said the President. "And even as we have stepped up patrols, apprehensions along the border have been cut by nearly 40 percent from two years ago."
The President then reminded the audience that violent crime in southwest border counties has dropped by a third and that El Paso and other border communities are among the safest in the nation, a testament to the work being done by CBP. (President's El Paso remarks)
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.