Wednesday, February 13, 2013


* Inbox deluge warning * Catch up time, next several will be AZMEX
Policy pieces.


Note: Then why have millions of dollars and thousands of lives been
spent to control this area? By the drug gangs that is? A very
successful import/export corridor is why.

Secretary stresses need for immigration reform
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano: El Paso, border secure
By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times
Posted: 02/06/2013 12:01:19 AM MST

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks
in the US Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine
hangar in El Paso on immigration and border security. (Mark Lambie /
El Paso Times)

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano pointed to El Paso
as an example of an increasingly secure border during a visit Tuesday
to highlight improvements in border security.
Napolitano was in El Paso on a tour promoting a secure border, which
some Republicans in Congress say is necessary before any proposal to
overhaul immigration laws.
Napolitano's visit coincided with El Paso
again being ranked the "safest big city" in annual rankings by CQ
Press, a research publishing firm.
"Whenever people tell me that the border is unsafe, I say, 'What
about El Paso?', " Napolitano said at a news conference in the U.S.
Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine hangar.
Napolitano took a helicopter tour of the border east of El Paso, met
with Mayor John Cook and law enforcement leaders, and visited Border
Patrol agents in Clint.
"We had a really good round-table discussion with Secretary
Napolitano and emphasized the fact that, in our opinion, the border
is already secure," Cook said afterward. "I can only speak for the El
Paso sector. We feel the El Paso sector is secure at this time."
Cook said that the need in El Paso is more staffing and technology
at the border crossings to shorten the waits that hinder
international travel and commerce.
Monday, Napolitano was in San Diego as part of a tour promoting a
secure border.
San Diego was ranked by CQ Press as second only to El Paso as the
city (over 500,000 population) with the lowest crime rate.
"It's imperative we modernize the immigration system," Napolitano
said. "Now, there's been some insistence that an

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks
in the US Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine
hangar in El Paso on immigration and border security. (Mark Lambie /
El Paso Times)
overhaul of our immigration laws must wait until the border is secure.
"That argument not only ignores the unprecedented gains we've made in
border security, it suffers from a fundamental flaw," Napolitano
said. "The fundamental flaw is that it somehow says that border
security is unrelated with what we do with interior enforcement."
She was asked about concerns from ranchers in rural areas, away from
cities such as El Paso, who have complained about illegal immigration
and drug smuggling.
Napolitano, a former governor and attorney general of Arizona, said
that in the past four years security has been toughened all along the
U.S.-Mexico border, including sparsely populated areas.
"We have more Border Patrol agents, boots on the ground than ever
before," Napolitano said. "Number two, we are using more technology
as a force multiplier than ever before -- different types of sensors,
multiple vehicle radar systems, forward-operating bases. These are
bases located right on the border."
Napolitano said that air cover on the border is at its greatest ever,
including the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, which allow
agents to see things on the ground from a high altitude.
President Barack Obama's proposed immigration law overhaul does not
include the secure-border provision favored by some Republican senators.
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, said the "border has never been
more secure."
O'Rourke pointed to a record number of criminal deportations and
record-low levels of immigrant arrests plus 22,000 Border Patrol
agents and $18 billion spent annually on border security.
"I agree with the secretary (Napolitano) and President Obama that we
cannot allow comprehensive immigration reform to be derailed by those
that refuse to see the reality of the border," O'Rourke said in a
U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, a Demo crat who represents far east El Paso
County and a large stretch of West Texas, also said that El Paso
County was safe.
"I have full faith that the men and women tasked with protecting us
are keeping us safe, but more resources would be helpful in
modernizing facilities in Eagle Pass, Presidio and Sierra Blanca,"
Gallego said in a statement.
Other political leaders claimed that the border was not secure
regardless of what Napolitano said.
"I hope Secretary Napolitano returns to Washington and relays to the
president and Senate Democrats what Texans already know: Our border
is not secure and the federal government has a long way to go," Sen.
John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement before Napolitano's visit
to El Paso.
State Sen. Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, said, "Those who assert
the border is a threat to the nation will never accept the facts. El
Paso's low crime rate is no anomaly. It's been this way for years.
"Federal agencies are doing their job in securing the border," Rodrí
guez said in a statement. "What we need is reform and oversight of
the billions in funding and unprecedented buildup of personnel in our
communities. We also need to build upon the billions of dollars in
trade with Mexico, and put resources into expanding and staffing
ports of entry."
Napolitano said a secure border does not mean that there will never
be any illegal crossings or crimes committed along the border. She
said enforcement on the border is only one part of border security.
"It's enforcement at the border and the interior of the country," she
said. "And streamlining the visa process and dealing with those in
the country illegally but that have committed no crime beyond that.
And recognizing the critical role that trade between Mexico and the
U.S has for jobs, particularly on border states like Texas."

Daniel Borunda may be reached at; 546-6102.
Follow him on Twitter @BorundaDaniel

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