The U.S. and Mexico are making headway in the ongoing struggle to curb the flow of illegal drugs, cash and weapons across the border, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.
Napolitano, who spoke at a public policy conference at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, said "historic" agreements with Mexican President Felipe Calderon's government and increases in enforcement are helping with security issues in the U.S., and curbing the flow of drugs into the U.S. and weapons and cash into Mexico.
"We stand at a historic moment," she said. "We have the opportunity to work with the government of Mexico to make significant advancements in the safety and security of the border area and the safety and security of Mexico in the very courageous battle President Calderon is fighting there."
Calderon launched a nationwide offensive against violent and powerful drug cartels shortly after taking office in 2006. Since then, more than 13,000 people have been killed. In Ciudad Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, federal police and Mexican troops have been deployed to curb the near-daily killings.
Napolitano said successes are coming slowly but steadily, and can't fully be measured by the number of arrests made or the amount of cash and weapons seized. "It will be a marathon, but progress is being made, again because of the historic relationship we have," she said.
From the Kentucky Post, on a US-VISIT success:
Customs and Border Protection's use of advanced technology, US-VISIT recently resulted in the detection, apprehension and incarceration of an arriving international passenger at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).
US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indication Technology) records biographic and biometric information to conduct security checks and verify the identities of international travelers applying for admission into the United States. By linking a person's biometric information to his or her travel documents reduces the risk that a traveler's identity or documents could be intentionally misused by someone attempting to gain entry into the United States.
A case in point occurred on March 6, when Moussa Doucoure, 29, and a citizen of the country of Mali, arrived via an international flight from Paris, France at CVG. He presented himself for admission to CBP as a returning Asylee using a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Travel Document.
Upon his primary inspection by a CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officer and enrollment into US-VISIT, his fingerprints came up as a mismatch which resulted in a secondary inspection. It was during this secondary inspection that Doucoure was found to be an imposter to the travel document he presented. His fingerprint and photograph did not match the fingerprint and photograph that was on file for the genuine recipient of the travel document.
"US-VISIT biometric screening continues to prevent fraudulent document use and has enabled DHS to stop wanted criminals and immigration violators from entering this country. It is because of this state of the art technology and the fine work of our CBP officers and the U.S. Attorney's Office that this person was brought to justice."
From the Washington Post, on a D.C. school's preparation for H1N1:
Should the swine flu appear at Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School in Germantown, a veritable arsenal of weaponry awaits.
There's a double-barreled blast of Germ-X hand sanitizer at the front desk in the main office. The antibacterial soap dispensers in the bathrooms. And in the Room 103, better known as Kristy Halvorsen's first-grade class, the virus faces a triple threat from more Germ-X, Purell soap and Kleenex tissues.
In their quest to fortify themselves against the H1N1 virus, known as swine flu, Matsunaga and other schools across the Washington region are building up chemical stockpiles and barraging students with lessons on how to wash their hands and cough into their elbows. There haven't been any cases of H1N1 at Matsunaga, the largest elementary school in Montgomery County, and Judy K. Brubaker, its principal, would like to keep it that way.
"When I buy it, I buy it at 400 bucks a pop," Brubaker said recently while giving a tour of her school's defenses. At least twice now, she has purchased 70 40-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer.
Each classroom has multiple defenses. In Philip D'Agnese's second-grade class in a temporary trailer, there were no fewer than six bottles of soap, one at each of the classroom's hotspots -- the computers, the pencil sharpener, the homework baskets -- and that wasn't counting the box of "antiviral" tissues.
10 AM EDT
CBP Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar and CBP Secure Border Initiative Executive Director Mark Borkowski will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism about progress on the Secure Border Initiative
311 Cannon House Office Building
11:30 AM EDT
ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton will participate in a media availability announcing the indictment of a well known New Haven-area philanthropist for child sex tourism.
Financial Center, 11th Floor conference room
157 Church Street
New Haven, Conn.
1:30 PM EDT
USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas will administer the Oath of Allegiance and deliver remarks during a special “Citizenship Day” naturalization ceremony
Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (Flag Hall)
14th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
2:30 PM PDT
USCG Admiral Sally Brice-O’Hara will participate in a public meeting for the President’s Ocean Policy Task Force
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Embarcadero Center Ballroom A 5
San Francisco, Calif.