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Homeland Security

Secretary Napolitano Applauds President Obama's Intent to Nominate Alan Bersin as CBP Commissioner

Release Date: 
September 22, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today applauded President Obama’s intent to nominate Alan Bersin—currently serving as DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs—as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner.

“Under Alan’s leadership over the past several months, we have forged new international and domestic partnerships along our borders to strengthen security,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I look forward to continuing to work with Alan in his new position, where he will lead the Department’s efforts to implement practical, innovative solutions to protect our country from threats to our national and economic security and facilitate legitimate travel and trade.”

Since joining the Department in mid-April, Bersin has led efforts to implement President Obama’s Southwest Border Initiative. As CBP Commissioner, Bersin will lead DHS efforts to secure America’s borders while overseeing the enforcement of immigration, customs and drug laws. He will manage more than 57,000 CBP employees working to secure U.S. land and maritime borders.

Biography

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Bersin was Board Chairman of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, appointed in December 2006. He served from 2005-2006 as California’s Secretary of Education, appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and previously oversaw the nation’s eighth largest urban school district from 1998-2005 as superintendent of public education in San Diego.

Bersin also served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California from 1993 to 1998. Concurrently, he was appointed as Special Representative for the Southwest Border in 1995 by former Attorney General Janet Reno and, in that capacity, oversaw the coordination of border law enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border for three years.

As a law enforcement official, educator and civil servant, Bersin’s previous positions include Special Counsel to the Los Angeles Police Commission, visiting professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, and Lecturer at Stanford University Graduate School of Education. He holds a B.A. from Harvard College, a J.D. from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar.

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