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DHS' Progress in 2011: Southwest Border

Highlighting Our Progress in 2011: Department of Homeland Security

DHS continued to support the Administration's unprecedented efforts to secure the Southwest border by deploying historic levels of manpower, resources and technology and increasing collaboration with federal, state, local and tribal, and Mexican partners while facilitating legal trade and travel.

CBP logo on car door

  • Increasing the number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol agents nationwide from approximately 10,000 in 2004 to more than 21,000 today with nearly 18,500 “boots on the ground” along the Southwest border;
  • Deploying a quarter of all U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operational personnel to the Southwest border region—the most ever—to dismantle criminal organizations along the border;
  • Doubling the number of ICE personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces;
  • Increasing the number of intelligence analysts working along the U.S.-Mexico border;
  • Tripling deployments of Border Liaison Officers, who facilitate cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement authorities on investigations and enforcement operations
  • Deploying dual detection canine teams as well as non-intrusive inspection systems, Mobile Surveillance Systems, Remote Video Surveillance Systems, thermal imaging systems, radiation portal monitors, and license plate readers to the Southwest border
  • Border Patrol apprehensions—a key indicator of illegal immigration—have decreased 53 percent in the last three years and are less than 20 percent of what they were at their peak; violent crime in border communities has remained flat or fallen in the past decade; and statistics have shown that some of the safest communities in America are along the border; and
  • From FY 2009- 2011, DHS has seized 74 percent more currency, 41 percent more drugs, and 159 percent more weapons along the Southwest border as compared to FY 2006-2008.
  • In 2011, the Border Intelligence Fusion Section (BIFS), based at the El Paso Intelligence Center and led by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis in partnership with CBP, ICE, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Defense's Joint Task Force – North provided Southwest border federal, state, local, and tribal interdictors and investigators with actionable intelligence on drug trafficking corridors and support to joint international efforts and the Alliances to Combat Transnational Threats in Arizona and New Mexico/West Texas.
  • In addition to its efforts to strengthen border security, DHS made great strides in expediting legal trade and travel—working with local leaders to update infrastructure and reduce wait times at our Southwest border ports of entry through initiatives including Active Lane Management which leverages Ready Lanes, Dedicated Commuter Lanes, and LED signage to dynamically monitor primary vehicle lanes and re-designate lanes as traffic conditions and infrastructure limitations warrant.
  • Secretary Napolitano, along with National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin, DHS Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement (CNE) Director Grayling Williams, ICE Director John Morton, and other public health and safety officials released the 2011 National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy - a key component of the Obama Administration's efforts to enhance security along the Southwest border. The strategy outlines Federal, state, local, tribal, and international actions to reduce the flow of illicit drugs, cash, and weapons across the border, and highlights the Obama Administration's support for promoting strong border communities by expanding access to drug treatment and supporting programs that break the cycle of drug use, violence, and crime.
  • USCG played an integral role in DHS's Southern Border strategy through its maritime operations at the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF)-South—the U.S. Southern Command entity that coordinates integrated interagency counter drug operations in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern Pacific. The Coast Guard removed nearly 75 metric tons of cocaine, and more than 17 metric tons of marijuana in FY 2011.
  • Secretary Napolitano joined other administration officials in announcing the release of the President's Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, aimed at combating illicit activities including and cybercrime, drug and human trafficking, and terrorism. As part of this effort, ICE implemented a new Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy to integrate its resources to combat criminal organizations both at home and abroad.
  • The Declaration on 21st Century Border Management, issued by Presidents Obama and Calderon, expressed the US and Mexico's commitment to increased collaboration on facilitating legitimate trade and travel at the border, while continuing to combat transnational crime. As part of this effort, DHS is working closely with its Mexican counterparts on critical infrastructure protection and expansion of trusted traveler and shipper programs.
Last Updated: 08/25/2022
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