Monday, June 22nd Morning Roundup - Featured News and Public EventsFrom CNN, on the importance of smuggling issues
The new U.S. border czar, Alan Bersin, has arrived to inspect operations at one of his most critical facilities, the Maricopa port of entry outside Nogales, Arizona.From The Buffalo News, on security upgrades
It's the largest port of entry in Arizona, handling about 1,500 commercial trucks a day, making it a major trade corridor between the United States and Mexico, Officer James Tong of U.S. Customs and Border Protection tells Bersin.
It is also a major corridor for the smuggling of cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the U.S.
Last year, 37,000 pounds of marijuana were seized along this arid stretch of border. And on the day of Bersin's visit, two teenage girls were caught trying to sneak heroin past border guards in Nogales.
"That told me that in reaction to increased enforcement ... the cartels are ... recruiting teenagers as their new couriers," Bersin said.
Bersin said the Obama administration is forging a new alliance with Mexico in the campaign to combat the drug cartels.
"This is now viewed as a set of problems that we share in common," he said.
The cartels are implicated in more than 7,000 killings last year, including the assassination of police, judges and high-ranking government officials.
"We're very concerned about the spillover of the kind of public shootings where bystanders are caught between the cartels and between the cartels and the government," he said.
The solution, he said, is to stop not only the flood of drugs to the north, but also the flood of guns and money south into Mexico. His troops are charged with stopping the traffic in both directions. He was told that so far this year more than $2 million in narco dollars have been seized in Nogales.
You may not give it a second thought when you board a Metro Bus, descend into the subway or hop a flight at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.Secretary’s Events
But in the last four years alone, about $12 million has been poured into Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority facilities by the federal government - just to make them safe from terrorists.
Aside from major transit systems in cities like New York and Chicago, the NFTA ranks among the biggest recipients of Department of Homeland Security dollars in the nation. In the post-9/11 transportation world, such huge expenditures are now part of everyday operations.
"Technology plays an important role in keeping our transit infrastructure safe," said Sara Kuban, a Homeland Security spokeswoman.
"The goal is to reduce the threat."
In Buffalo, the new expenditures mean:
While attacks on U.S. transit systems have been practically non-existent, violence on commuter trains and subways in Tokyo, London and Madrid have heightened awareness around the world wherever large numbers of people are conveyed.
- An increase from 73 surveillance cameras in the Metro Rail system to 170.
- The addition of sophisticated new screens to monitor the subway in Metro Rail's operations center in downtown Buffalo.
- New and strengthened fencing at major bus garages and at the airport.
- The introduction of security card systems at NFTA facilities.
The mere fact that such crowds gather in commuter systems demands that precautions be taken, said Kim Minkel, the NFTA's director of health, safety and environmental quality.
12:30 PM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a media availability
Orlando International Airport
East Checkpoint, Terminal A
1 Airport Blvd
1:15 PM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a United We Serve project with members of the FEMA Citizen Corps
110 Andes Avenue
9 AM EDT
Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan will speak at the Government 2.0: Privacy and Best Practices Workshop hosted by the DHS Privacy Office
The Washington Court Hotel Atrium Ballroom
525 New Jersey Avenue
11:00 AM MDT
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate will participate in a roundtable discussion with fire fighters to highlight President Obama’s United We Serve initiative.
Station 8, Denver Fire Department
6:30 PM EDT
Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute will lead a citizenship class as part of President Obama’s United We Serve initiative
Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights
665 West 182nd Street, First Floor
New York, N.Y.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.