For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Havre, Mont. - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today visited Piegan, Sweetgrass, Sunburst and Havre, Mont., with Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Alan Bersin to tour CBP operations and meet with state and local officials, law enforcement personnel and private sector stakeholders regarding DHS' efforts to secure the Northern border.
"We have made critical security enhancements along our Northern border, investing in additional personnel, technology, and infrastructure to meet the security and operational requirements of our post-9/11 world," said Secretary Napolitano. "DHS is committed to working closely with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners and the citizens of Montana to protect the border while facilitating legal trade and travel."
Secretary Napolitano and the delegation toured CBP operations at the Piegan and Sweetgrass ports of entry to observe state-of-the-art technologies such as thermal camera systems and Mobile Surveillance Systems.
The group then traveled to Sunburst, Mont., to participate in a roundtable discussion with law enforcement regarding the Department's ongoing partnerships with federal, state, local, tribal and Canadian law enforcement agencies along the Northern border to combat transnational crime and illicit drug smuggling.
In Havre, Secretary Napolitano and the delegation participated in a town hall meeting to discuss a range of issues including partnerships with Canada on trusted-traveler programs and DHS' efforts to increase personnel along the Northern border to strengthen security and continue to facilitate legal travel and trade. DHS expects to have more than 2,200 Border Patrol agents deployed along the Northern border by the end of 2010—a 700 percent increase since 9/11—in addition to the approximately 5,800 CBP officers already stationed in Northern border states.
Secretary Napolitano also toured the Westside Great Falls Levee District with Senators Baucus and Tester and Commissioner Bersin—reiterating the Department's commitment to working with federal, state, local and tribal officials to develop practical solutions that address flooding problems without impeding economic development.
On Thursday, Secretary Napolitano will visit Chicago to deliver remarks to the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) at Fire-Rescue International 2010; visit key critical infrastructure sites; and join Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to meet with public and private sector stakeholders, law enforcement officials and first responders to discuss the Department's continued commitment to protecting our nation's transportation systems and critical infrastructure.