Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez-Mont yesterday delivered remarks on the ongoing and groundbreaking ways the United States and Mexico are working together to make the Southwest border region more secure and prosperous.
Napolitano said that over the last 15 months, the two nations have established unprecedented partnerships to strengthen the mutually reinforcing goals of securing the border and making legal travel and commerce easier.
“We will continue to work closely with our Mexican counterparts to build a 21st century border that prioritizes security and enhances the United States’ economic competitiveness both along the border and throughout the country,” the secretary said.
During their remarks, Napolitano stressed the critical economic impact of the billions of dollars in commerce and millions of legal travelers who cross the border every year, emphasizing the benefits of a collaborative approach to border management to facilitate the legal flow of travel and trade between the two countries.
In March last year, the Obama administration announced the Southwest Border Initiative, which aims to crack down on Mexican drug cartels by deploying additional personnel and technology, increasing information sharing, working closely with the Mexican government, and improving federal coordination with state, local and tribal law enforcement authorities. In the first year of the Southwest Border Initiative, DHS seized $85.7 million in currency, $29.7 million in southbound seizures, 1,425 firearms and 1.65 million kilograms of drugs.
Napolitano has visited Mexico five times since she became secretary, meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderón to discuss ways both nations can collaborate to secure the border. Napolitano and Gómez-Mont have also signed multiple agreements to bolster aviation and border security by expanding efforts to combat terrorism, crack down on violent drug cartels, and enhance mechanisms to facilitate lawful travel and trade.