Secretary Napolitano Discusses Border Security and Enforcement

Security along the U.S. border with Mexico is at an all-time high, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced in an October 2011 presentation at American University in Washington, D.C.

As evidence, Secretary Napolitano reports that DHS has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2001 to 18,000 agents today, and is using highly sophisticated technology to significantly reduce the number of people trying to get into the United States illegally.

DHS, through the efforts of component agencies Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement has seen a 36 percent drop in the number of attempts to illegally cross the southwestern border over the past two years, she said. That is a third of the volume of such attempts at its peak. At the same time, seizure of guns, drugs and currency have all increased despite the drop in attempted illegally crossings.

Secretary Napolitano said the border is safer than it has been in decades and praised the hard work of CBP and ICE in achieving record levels of enforcement. “Let’s take the ‘border is out of control’ myth out of the equation,” she said. By “…using the claim that the border is not secure as a reason to block immigration reform is not reasonable…for the last two and a half years, [we] have seen dramatic declines in illegal immigration and dramatic increases in seizures.”

Secretary Napolitano also announced her agency’s current priorities for effective immigration enforcement. Top on DHS’ list is the identification and removal of public safety and national security threats, criminals and gang members, and deterring individuals from illegally crossing the southwestern border by detention of recent illegal crossers.

Lower on its overall list of priorities, DHS will continue its forensic I-9 workforce compliance audits rather than engage in worksite raids. Secretary Napolitano announced that the agency will continue its program of criminal prosecution for those employers who have been deemed to have engaged in egregious workforce compliance violations. Significantly, DHS will begin prioritizing the removal of those persons who repeatedly violate immigration laws, and for the first time as formal national policy, outline the appropriate use of discretion in deciding which cases the agency will prioritize for removal.

Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit