WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 6, 2013) — White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Alan Bersin and Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West met with law enforcement officials from across the country Wednesday at the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building to discuss the need for commonsense reform to fix our nation’s broken immigration system.
DPC Director Muñoz outlined the principles at the heart of the President’s proposal: continuing to strengthen border security, cracking down on employers that hire undocumented workers, creating a pathway to earned citizenship, and streamlining our legal immigration system. Secretary Napolitano highlighted the Department’s work with local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws while securing our borders, and noted that in order to continue making progress, we need to modernize our immigration laws.
Secretary Napolitano also highlighted the significant progress that has been made as the Administration has dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border over the last four years, and undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform our nation’s immigration enforcement systems into one that focuses on public safety, border security, and the integrity of the immigration system.
Attempts to cross the border illegally totaled nearly 365,000 nationwide in FY 2012, representing a nearly 50 percent decrease since FY 2008 and a 78 percent decrease from their peak in FY 2000; and that from FY 2009 to 2012, CBP and ICE seized 71 percent more currency, 39 percent more drugs, and 189 percent more weapons along the Southwest border as compared to FY 2005 to 2008.
The Secretary made it clear that commonsense immigration reform is the single best step we can take to continue to enhance border security, enabling our officers and agents along the border to spend the bulk of their time focused on public safety and national security threats. Law enforcement officials agreed that immigration reform will strengthen trust between communities and law enforcement agencies, and allow officers to focus resources on public safety.
Participants in today’s meeting included: Los Angeles County, Calif. Sheriff Leroy Baca; former New York Police Department/Los Angeles Police Department Chief of Police Bill Bratton; Calhoun County, Ala. Sheriff Larry Amerson; Oakwood, Ohio Chief of Police Alex Bebris; Loudoun County, Va. Sheriff Michael L. Chapman; Harris County, Texas Sheriff Adrian Garcia; Fremont, Calif. Police Chief and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) President Craig Steckler; Tuscaloosa County, Ala. Sheriff Edmund Sexton; Cambridge, Mass. Police Department Commissioner Robert Haas; Vermont State Police Director Thomas L’Esperance; Montgomery County, Md. Chief of Police Thomas Manger; Cook County, Ill. Homeland Security Executive Director Michael Masters; Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority Superintendent-in-Chief Joseph O’Connor; Arlington County, Va. Chief of Police Douglas Scott; Utah Department of Public Safety Deputy Commissioner Keith Squires; IACP Director of the Research Division John Firman; Police Executive Research Forum Chief of Staff Andrea Luna; and Prince George’s County, Md. Assistant Chief of Police Kevin Davis.
On Feb. 4-5, Secretary Napolitano traveled to San Diego, California and Clint and El Paso, Texas to inspect border security operations at the Southwest border, meet with state and local stakeholders, and discuss the Department’s on-going efforts to secure the border while facilitating lawful travel and trade.
For more information on the President’s proposal and how it would help officers and agents along the border better focus on combating public safety and national security threats by continuing to build upon the progress already made – including by investing in ports of entry, and making it harder for transnational criminal organizations to operate, click HERE. For more information on the Department of Homeland Security visit www.DHS.gov.