Today I joined local law enforcement and elected officials from communities along the Southwest border at the White House for a roundtable discussion on the ongoing collaboration among federal, state and local partners to keep our border communities safe and secure while facilitating legal travel and trade.
Protecting communities along our borders is vital to our homeland security and critical to our economic prosperity. Since 2009, DHS and partners across the federal government have deployed unprecedented levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border. The Border Patrol is better staffed today than at any time in its 87-year history with more than 18,500 agents along the Southwest border, more than double the boots on the ground a decade ago.
The men and women of DHS work closely with our state and local partners each and every day to ensure the safety and security of our borders. As a result, the Southwest border is safer, illegal immigration attempts are at historic lows, and we are seizing more cash, drugs, and contraband.
During the meeting, I also conveyed the Obama Administration’s support for these border communities and for communities all across America to helping police officers and first responders who are charged with the responsibility of ensuring a safe, secure and resilient homeland through the American Jobs Act. Even in a difficult economic climate where we are faced with budget cuts across the board, we cannot afford to undermine law enforcement and first responder capabilities and jeopardize public safety. That is why the American Jobs Act provides $5 billion to state and local communities to create or save thousands of police and first responder jobs.
As we discussed in our meeting today, the Southwest border is open for business. While we continue our work securing our borders, we must also facilitate legitimate trade and travel. Our efforts to encourage economic development support jobs in communities along the border and all across America.