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ONDCP Director Kerlikowske Joins Secretary Napolitano on Southwest Border

Originally posted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy

This afternoon, Director Kerlikowske joined Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in Tucson, Arizona. They inspected border security operations at the Southwest border, met with state and local stakeholders and highlighted the significant progress achieved at disrupting illegal drug trafficking and improving operations along the Southwest border.

As part of the visit, Director Kerlikowske released a progress update on Administration efforts to strengthen border security. Some of the highlights include:

  • Increased weapons and drugs seizures. During 2009-2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seized 39 percent more drugs, 71 percent more currency, and 189 percent more weapons along the Southwest border as compared to fiscal years (FY) 2005-2008.
  • More boots on the ground. DHS has increased the number of personnel on the ground from approximately 9,800 Border Patrol agents in 2001 to more than 21,000 today.
  • Technology and infrastructure. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has expanded the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems from California to Texas and has completed 651 miles of fencing along the key trafficking areas.
  • Reducing drug demand. As part of its commitment to reduce the demand for drugs in the U.S., ONDCP has funded 18 Drug-Free Communities within 100 miles of the border in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. These coalitions provide outreach services to young people to prevent drug use before it begins.
President Obama announced in January of this year that strengthening border security is one of the key principles for common sense immigration reform. These principles will continue to build upon this progress by investing in the ports of entry; helping our officers and agents focus on public safety threats; making it harder for transnational criminal organizations to operate; encouraging immigrants to pursue a pathway to earned citizenship; holding employers accountable; and strengthening the integrity of the immigration system.

The passage of the President’s proposal will help ensure that officers and agents along the border are better able to strengthen public safety and combat national security threats including drug trafficking.

For more information on Obama Administration efforts to bolster border security and create an immigration system for the 21st century, go here. To read a fact sheet on strengthening border security, go here.
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