Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at Pen-and-Pad Briefing on the Department's Fifth Anniversary [March 6, 2008]   [open pdf - 55KB]

From the remarks of Secretary Chertoff: "The approach that we take to managing the borders -- driven by the landscape, the flow, the particular challenges that there are in any one of the locations -- and if you've been in the southwest border, you see it's enormously different, from the standpoint of terrain, where the cities are located, where the highways are located. Part of our strategy is obviously the ports of entry, which is why we've been improving the documentation requirements, we eliminated oral declarations, we've eliminated most of the 8,000 kinds of documents that were formally presented at the border. And I'm hoping that next June we will have a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative implemented that Congress does not delay again, so that we can really have an equality assurance about the nature of the documents we're being presented with at the ports of entry. Between the ports of entry, we're obviously concerned about smuggling, whether it be human smuggling or drug smuggling. And there we use a combination of low-tech, medium-tech and high-tech. The low-tech is obviously the fencing, which we currently have about 304 miles deployed along the border. We are on track to have about 670 miles of fencing by the end of this year. That will mean that the vast majority of the land between the Pacific Ocean and the Texas-New Mexico border will be covered with some kind of a barrier, unless there's a natural barrier in place like a mountain or something -- and it gets pretty close to that, maybe 90 percent of that. So that's going to be dramatic improvement from a low-tech standpoint."

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