SAN DIEGO–Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano visited San Diego Monday to meet with federal, state and local law enforcement leaders, visit National Guard troops helping to secure the Southwest border and highlight the ongoing efforts of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to bolster border security while expediting the flow of legal travel and trade.
“We have devoted unprecedented amounts of manpower, infrastructure and technology to the Southwest border under this administration,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Over the past two years, our seizures of illegal drugs, currency and weapons have increased significantly—helping to make the Southwest border more secure than ever before.”
While in San Diego, Secretary Napolitano visited National Guard troops stationed at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station who are providing direct support to federal law enforcement personnel in high-risk areas to disrupt criminal organizations seeking to smuggle people and goods illegally across the Southwest border. In May, President Obama authorized the deployment of an additional 1,200 National Guard troops along the Southwest border as part of the administration’s unprecedented efforts to crack down on transnational smuggling and cartel violence.
She also joined CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin at the San Ysidro Port of Entry to highlight several results of the Obama administration’s deployment of unprecedented levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border.
In fiscal years 2009 and 2010, CBP seized more than $104 million in southbound illegal currency—an increase of approximately $28 million compared to 2007-2008. CBP and ICE also seized more than $282 million in illegal currency, more than 7 million pounds of drugs, and more than 6,800 weapons in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 along the southwest border—increases of more than $73 million, more than 1 million pounds of drugs and more than 1,500 weapons compared to 2007-2008.
Secretary Napolitano also highlighted the 36 percent decrease in Border Patrol apprehensions from nearly 724,000 in fiscal year 2008 to approximately 463,000 in fiscal year 2010—indicating that fewer people are attempting to cross the border.
Earlier that day, Secretary Napolitano met with federal, state and local law enforcement leaders at the San Diego Maritime Unified Command, a unified federal, state and local maritime law enforcement operation in the San Diego and Orange County maritime region, to discuss the integral role of the Unified Command in securing our ports and maritime borders.