Washington, D.C. – Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today delivered remarks at the Annual U.S.-Mexico Congressional Border Issues Conference – highlighting the continued partnership between the United States and Mexico to ensure our mutual security while facilitating trade and travel along the Southwest border.
"Security and prosperity are mutually reinforcing, and the United States and Mexico are closely linked by a common interest in robust security and growing economies," said Secretary Napolitano. "We are committed to continuing to work with Mexico to foster a safe and secure border zone, while facilitating the legal trade and travel that helps our border regions prosper."
In her remarks, Secretary Napolitano underscored the Obama Administration's unprecedented efforts to strengthen security along the Southwest border, which include increasing the number of Border Patrol agents from approximately 10,000 in 2004 to more than 20,700 today; doubling the number of personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces; and deploying approximately one quarter of all U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel to the Southwest border region – the most ever.
Secretary Napolitano also highlighted the unprecedented collaboration between the United States and Mexico to bolster cooperation on law enforcement, intelligence sharing and joint operations along the Southwest border. As part of a broader bilateral effort, the Department has increased joint training programs with Mexican law enforcement agencies and, for the first time in history, Border Patrol agents are coordinating joint operations along the Southwest border with their colleagues in the Mexican Federal Police to combat human trafficking and smuggling in our respective nations.
Secretary Napolitano also discussed the Obama Administration's commitment to streamlining legal trade and travel across the Southwest border – highlighting construction projects at ports of entry in Arizona and California that are modernizing infrastructure at ports of entry to expedite and expand trade and commerce along the border.
The U.S.-Mexico Congressional Border Issues Conference – hosted by the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce and co-chaired by Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) and Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) – brings together decision-makers from the two nations' capitals and the border region to explore common issues and discuss ongoing efforts and initiatives along the U.S.-Mexico border.
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