Wednesday, February 13, 2013



Arizona Gov. Brewer: Border residents don't feel safe
By Associated Press
Originally published: Feb 12, 2013 - 5:16 pm

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The border with Mexico won't be secure until the
people living near there feel safe from drug and human trafficking,
said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Tuesday after touring the region just
hours before President Barack Obama championed his immigration plan
in the State of the Union address.

Brewer said Afghanistan has safer borders and called for more fences,
drones and law enforcement officials after touring the border near
Tucson in an Arizona National Guard Blackhawk helicopter for nearly
three hours. Her remarks came as national leaders insist the border
must be secured before new rights are extended to illegal immigrants,
but there is much disagreement over what exactly a secure border means.
``Anybody that would tell us that the border is secure is the people
living on the border,'' Brewer said.

Last month, Obama unveiled his immigration proposal supporting a path
to citizenship for the nation's estimated 11 million illegal
immigrants. During his State of the Union address, Obama pledged to
enforce border security and urged lawmakers to send him legislation.
``America will be better for it,'' he said. ``Let's get it done.''

Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake have also called
for an immigration overhaul. The Senate plan seeks to make a pathway
to citizenship conditional on a secure border.

The number of people apprehended in Arizona for illegally crossing
the border last year dropped to the lowest level in nearly 20 years,
according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Brewer said Obama and other federal officials who claim the border is
safe need to speak with people living in the region. Brewer said she
and other border governors should be appointed to a proposed
commission of border state lawmakers and citizens tasked with making
recommendations on when border security metrics have been met. The
commission is part of the Senate's tentative immigration plan.

Brewer also met Tuesday with ranchers from along the border and
Border Patrol officials. She compared her tour with a recent trip to
Afghanistan. ``They can secure the borders over there. Why can't we
secure our border here?''

Southern Arizona ranchers frequently find guns, drugs and trash left
on their property, Patrick Bray, executive vice president of the
Arizona Cattlemen's Association, said after the meeting.
``We definitely don't feel the border is safe at this time,'' he said.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has pointed to
historic numbers of Border Patrol agents across the Southwest, along
with enhancements in technology such as drones and remote sensors
aimed at making the region safer.

``I believe the border is secure. I believe the border's a safe
border. That's not to say everything is 100 percent,'' Napolitano
said last week on a stop in San Diego.

Arizona became the busiest stretch of the border for drug and human
smuggling after crackdowns in Texas and California in the 1990s. In
2005, agents in the Tucson sector apprehended more than 490,000
illegal immigrants- an all-time high. In the 2012 fiscal year in the
same sector, about 120,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended.

Meanwhile, the amount of drugs seized in Arizona has soared with
agents confiscating about 1 million pounds of marijuana in the Tucson
sector last year, more than double the amount seized in 2005.

Brewer said illegal immigration fell because of Arizona's tough anti-
immigration stance and a decline in economic opportunity.
``I truly believe that when the economy gets better, it will all
start up again,'' she said.

Note: not regarded as a loss in many quarters.

Head Of Customs And Border Protection To Retire
By: Mickey McCarter
02/12/2013 ( 8:00am)

The head of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is set to retire
by the end of March, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Friday praised Aguilar's
service as chief of US Border Patrol and then as acting CBP chief.

"Commissioner Aguilar has been integral in leading CBP's modern
transformation, leveraging enhanced technology and training,
increased Office of Air and Marine capabilities, and advanced
information analysis to assist legal travel and trade," Napolitano
said in a statement.

"Because of his efforts over the past three decades, our country's
borders and border communities are safer and more secure, and he
leaves behind a more sophisticated and agile law enforcement agency
-- our nation's largest. I am deeply grateful for his contributions
to DHS, CBP and our country. I congratulate him on his career as a
selfless public servant and wish him and his family the very best in
his retirement. David will be missed," she added.

Aguilar joined Border Patrol in 1978 and became chief of the agency
in 2004. With direction from Congress, the Border Patrol grew rapidly
under Aguilar's tenure, starting with 10,000 agents in 2004 to more
than 21,000 in 2010.

President Barack Obama appointed Alan Bersin as CBP commissioner
during a recess appointment in March 2010. Soon after, Aguilar became
CBP deputy commissioner. Without confirmation by the Senate, Bersin
had to step down when Congress went out of session in December 2011,
leaving Aguilar to become acting CBP commissioner.

Technically, Aguilar's acting commissioner status expired in the
latter half of 2012 but DHS never installed another acting
commissioner, leaving Aguilar effectively in charge of the agency.

In a commentary on Dec. 6, 2012, the Border Trade Alliance (BTA), a
network of civil and business leaders dedicated to facilitating cross-
border commerce, lamented that CBP has gone so long without a Senate-
confirmed leader.

President Obama should set an agenda that strengthens cross-border
trade, thereby strengthening economic ties with Mexico, wrote BTA
President Nelson Balido.

"So it's almost baffling that his administration, in light of
achieving something so momentous, has been unable to get a Senate-
confirmed Customs and Border Protection commissioner in place,"
Balido wrote, acknowledging that the position flies "under the radar"
for most Americans.

Obama and the new president of Mexico should appoint Customs chiefs
that have the experience and knowledge necessary to introduce
innovation to commerce while strengthening security, Balido recommended.

"The trade community needs the presidents to name border champions,
individuals willing to make our borders areas of bold innovation on
items like clearing cargo for entry to its country of destination
from its country of origin, public-private partnerships to improve
infrastructure and boost staffing levels, and shared facilities. A
commitment to improved ports of entry results in an immediate return
on investment as those cars, trucks and pedestrians waiting in line
can more quickly enter into commerce and economic activity," he said.

Aguilar was a man who could have facilitated such things while also
focusing on border security, Balido suggested.

Napolitano said border security improved dramatically under Aguilar's

Overseeing more than 60,000 CBP employees, illegal border crossings
dropped 80 percent from their peak and seizures of illegal drugs and
weapons climbed to new heights, the secretary said.

In a review of fiscal year 2012 released on Feb. 1, CBP pointed to
enforcement statistics it credited to investments in personnel,
technology and infrastructure.

In 2012, CBP officers inspected more than 350 million travelers
(including 98 million air travelers, up from 4 percent in 2011) and
processed more than $2.3 trillion in trade (up 5 percent from 2011).

CBP seized $1.2 billion in counterfeit or stolen goods in 2012, up 14
percent from 2011. The agency also seized more than 4.2 million
pounds of narcotics and $100 million in unreported currency.

DHS estimated illegal border attempts, as measured by Border Patrol
apprehensions, fell to 365,000 in 2012, a 50 percent decline from
2008 and a 78 percent drop from 2000.

"In 2012, the men and women of CBP played a leading role in making
America more secure and more prosperous," Aguilar said in a
statement. "These numbers illustrate the investments made by CBP to
improve border security, increase efficiencies, and facilitate the
flow of legal travel and trade through our nation's borders."

AZ lawmakers get first-hand border experience
Manuel C. Coppola
AZ lawmakers get first-hand border experience

From left: Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino; FPAA Past Chairman Jaime
Chamberlain; Robert Shuler, an FPAA representative at the State
Capitol; and Rep. Rick Gray take part in Friday's round-table
concerning cross-border trade in Nogales.

Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 8:27 am
By Manuel C. Coppola
Nogales International | 0 comments

The complexities of the border in Nogales are not something you can
fully absorb from a Discovery Channel television show or political
rhetoric from a sheriff whose county is 121 miles away.
The late George McGovern said, "I wish I had known more firsthand
about the concerns and problems of American businesspeople while I
was a U.S. senator and later a presidential nominee. That knowledge
would have made me a better legislator and a more worthy aspirant to
the White House."
In a similar spirit, a bevy of Arizona state legislators took the
first step Friday toward understanding the intricacies of issues
unique to the border, such as the challenge of facilitating the flow
of billions in trade while controlling immigration and stemming
The group was hosted at a round-table discussion by the Fresh Produce
Association of the Americas, followed by a field trip to a local
produce warehouse and to the border itself.
FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer told the nine legislators that Arizona
should have a unified message to the federal government about the
importance of funding more infrastructure projects and adequate
staffing at the border.
Rather than looking at border needs as a local or even state issue,
"the port is an integral part of the global supply chain," he said.
Reflecting on the visit, Jungmeyer said on Monday, "In order to align
the messages from the state of Arizona, we need to develop grassroots
understanding of border issues among all elected Arizona officials.
Chief among these issues is the need for improved infrastructure at
the border. If we want to move Arizona's economy, we have to move
people, goods and services. We do that with better connector routes
near the ports of entry."
Rep. Karen Fann, a Republican who chairs the transportation committee
in the House, agreed. In a telephone interview, she said the trip was
"an eye-opener. There's nothing that impresses you more than to see
with your own eyes all the semi-tractors backed up, the conditions
that CBP works in or is unable to work in – whatever the case may be
– and the traffic along (Mariposa Road).
"We were able to see how trucking, produce shippers, storage
facilities, and everything else comes into the whole picture," she
said. "The No. 1 need is infrastructure. I just don't know how these
truck drivers do it with that astronomical volume of traffic. That
has to get fixed.
"Secondly, we have to figure out the best ways to get goods and
people across not only safely, but efficiently," Fann said.
On another front, she said, improvements are needed in processing
visas or permits for people wanting to come into the United States to
work in the agriculture industry.
Fann noted that the deadline has passed to get any type of
legislation introduced this session. But, she said, "Even with our
limited resources, we should be looking into getting more dollars
into the HURF to get some of this infrastructure done." HURF or
Highway User Revenue Fund is generated by the state gasoline tax, and
intended for transportation-related projects, but which is commonly
raided by the legislature for other purposes. The levy has been set
at 18 cents since 1994.
Democratic Sen. Linda Lopez had been on a border tour previously.
"It was gratifying to see the number of legislators that
participated. The more legislators come and experience this first
hand, the better off the state will be. It will be good to have more
advocates to work with," she said.
"This movement of trade back and forth helps everyone, and it will be
good to continue this crusade with more than a handful of people and
not just me," she said.
Others on the fieldtrip were Republican Sen. Bob Worsley; Republican
Reps. Kate Brophy McGee, Rick Gray and Brenda Barton; and Democratic
Reps. Andrea Dalessandro, Rosanna Gabaldon and Stefanie Mach.
Also on hand were Rick Stilgenbauer of Republican U.S. Sen. John
McCain's office; Julie Katsel and Bob Brubaker of Republican U.S.
Sen. Jeff Flake's office; as well as Kevin Biesty, assistant director
for government relations for the Arizona Department of Transportation.


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