SAN DIEGO — U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, visiting San Diego’s Otay Mesa Port of Entry today on the first leg of her three-day tour of California, Mexico and Texas, announced more than $20 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for Otay Mesa improvements and gave more details on how ARRA dollars will be spent along the U.S.-Mexico border.
DHS and the General Services Administration (GSA) will direct more than $400 million in ARRA funding to the Southwest border, including $269 million for port and other infrastructure projects in Otay Mesa, Antelope Wells, N.M., Los Ebanos, Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Nogales, Arizona. $42 million will go toward Non-Intrusive Inspection Equipment (NIIE) at Southwest border ports of entry, including both low energy and large-scale systems—big enough to scan tractor-trailers. Secretary Napolitano also announced $50 million in SBInet funding to accelerate deployment of surveillance technology and associated command and control technologies in Arizona, including deployment in Nogales and Sonoita stations, and $50 million to pay for tactical communications modernization for the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley Sectors.
"Through the Recovery Act, we will improve homeland security while fostering economic security and strengthening our economic recovery," said Secretary Napolitano. "The critical new technology and resources that DHS is sending to the Southwest border and across the country will contribute both to DHS’ security mission and the President’s effort to restore our nation’s economic health."
The ARRA, signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 19, committed more than $3 billion for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Secretary Napolitano, accompanied for the day by Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of California, visited Otay Mesa to get a closer look at ground-level border operations, and received a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement presentation and tour. Congressman Thompson and Congresswoman Sanchez serve as chairman and vice chair, respectively, of the House Homeland Security Committee. Secretary Napolitano also met with local elected officials while in San Diego.
Following her day in California, Secretary Napolitano will spend Thursday in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she will join U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to attend the Arms Trafficking Prosecution and Enforcement Strategy Executive Session and meet with Mexican leadership.
Following the conference, Secretary Napolitano will make her way to Mexico City on Thursday evening, to continue meetings with Mexican officials, including President Felipe Calderón. Her final stop will be Friday afternoon in Laredo, Texas, where she will meet with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at the Laredo Port of Entry.
# # #