Secretary Janet Napolitano, Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: 'Securing the Border: Progress at the Federal Level' [May 4, 2011]   [open pdf - 336KB]

"Chairman Lieberman, Senator Collins, and members of the Committee: Thank you for this opportunity to testify today about the unprecedented resources that have been dedicated to securing the Southwest border over the past two years, the progress that has been made as a result, and the metrics we can use to better assess future progress. Over the past two years, this Administration has dedicated more resources to securing the Southwest border than ever before, in terms of manpower, technology, and infrastructure. Our partnership with Mexico is strong, and we continue to support Mexico's efforts to combat the drug cartels that are headquartered in that country. The actions being taken at the border are occurring alongside strong, serious, and strategic enforcement of immigration laws in the interior of the United States, focused on removing illegal immigrants who have violated our criminal laws as well as those who pose other threats to public safety, and on employers who repeatedly or egregiously violate the law. Using Recovery Act funds in addition to other resources, the federal government has also made critical investments in improving and expanding outdated port infrastructure at the Southwest border to enhance enforcement while facilitating the flow of legal travel and trade. As a person who grew up in New Mexico and spent most of my adult life in Arizona, and who has walked the border, flown it, ridden it on horseback, and worked with border communities from Brownsville to San Diego, I can say from personal experience that these steps constitute the most comprehensive and dedicated effort to strengthen border security that our country has ever deployed. These efforts are leading to significant progress on the Southwest border. In the past two years, seizures of contraband have risen in all categories - in terms of illegal drugs, weapons, and bulk cash. Furthermore, illegal immigration attempts, as measured by Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal aliens, have decreased by 36 percent in the last two years and are less than one third of what they were at their peak a decade ago. In addition, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime statistics demonstrate that crime rates in border communities have remained steady or dropped in recent years, continuing a decade-long trend."

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