One day after President Obama concluded a summit in Mexico, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday that securing the Southwest border required targeting several issues at the same time: illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violence in Mexico.
Napolitano said her strategy was unlike the Bush administration's, when "the issue of the Southwest border was walled off from all other issues."
"Our approach is to view Southwest border security, along with enforcement of our immigration laws in the interior of the country, counter-narcotics enforcement and streamlined citizenship processes together," she said. "These things are inextricably linked."
Napolitano said the U.S. government is cooperating with the Mexican government more than ever to battle drug-related violence, citing efforts to stop the drugs flowing north and guns and cash flowing south.
"We have a unique opportunity now with Mexico to really break up these cartels," she said. "Shame on us if we don't take full advantage of that."
Napolitano also announced an additional $30 million in federal funds for local law enforcement in California and other border states to better fight trafficking and violence. Agencies in California will receive nearly $7.4 million. The money is in addition to $60 million announced in June.
From the Deming Headlight, on the Stonegarden announcement:
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took the occasion Tuesday of a Southwest Border Security Conference at the University of Texas at El Paso to announce an additional $30 million for Operation Stonegarden.
The announcement was seen via video conference in five U.S. Border Patrol Stations, including Deming. San Diego, Tucson, and Texas' Del Rio and Rio Grande Valley stations were also online.
Operation Stonegarden, in which the Luna County Sheriff's Office and the Deming Station of the USBP participate, provides funds for equipment and operational costs related to border-area crime. The $30 million is in addition to $60 million already
allocated for the current fiscal year.
"I think that's going to allow state agencies and other municipalities to get involved in coordinating efforts on border violence," said Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos, who was at UTEP. "It's a very positive thing."
From the Atlantic Online, a profile of and interview with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate:
Craig Fugate, the new head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Barack Obama, is an unusual choice for the job, historically speaking. Unlike many of his predecessors, most famously Michael "Heckuva Job" Brown under President George W. Bush, Fugate (pronounced few-gate) has experience in the relevant subject matter. A former firefighter, Fugate managed disasters for 20 years in Florida, the fiasco capital of America. Even more bizarrely for FEMA, often a dumping ground for friends of the powerful, Fugate has no political connections to Obama. Instead, he got his job the old-fashioned way-when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was looking for candidates, people kept mentioning his name. He has a reputation for telling it like it is-in a field where "it" is usually bad. And what Fugate has to say may come as strong medicine for his fellow citizens, nine out of 10 of whom now live in a place at significant risk for some kind of disaster.
A bear of a man with a white goatee, an aw-shucks accent, and a voice just slightly higher than you expect, Fugate has no university degrees but knows enough to be mistaken for a meteorologist by hurricane experts. He grew up in Alachua County, smack in the middle of Florida. Both of his parents died before he graduated from high school. As a teenager, he followed his father's example and became a volunteer firefighter. Then he became a paramedic, earning the nickname "Dr. Death" for having to pronounce more people dead on his first day than anyone before him. But he found his calling when he moved into emergency management, in 1989. Obsessively planning for horrible things he could not really control seemed to inspire him. "He is emergency management," says Will May Jr., who worked with Fugate for more than 20 years and is now Alachua's public-safety director. "That's what he does. He spends practically all his waking life working in it, thinking about it, talking about it, planning how to do things better."
10:30 AM CDT
Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement Acting Director John Leech will deliver remarks at the 2009 Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) Conference
Grand Hyatt Hotel
600 E Market St.
San Antonio, Texas
1:45 PM MDT
National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Control Systems Security Director Sean McGurk will deliver remarks at the 2nd International Symposium on Resilient Control Systems
1784 Science Center Dr
Idaho Falls, Idaho