This landmark speech by Secretary Napolitano encapsulates all of the work the Department of Homeland Security and Mexico have done on the border while also charting a path forward on what the future of the Border looks like.
Speech is below
I want to thank the University of Texas at El Paso for the opportunity to be here. I also want to recognize UTEP President Diana Natalicio, Congressman Silvestre Reyes and El Paso Mayor John Cook
The last time I was on campus we had just launched the Southwest Border Initiative – an unprecedented effort by the Obama administration to bring focus and intensity to Southwest border security, coupled with a reinvigorated, smart and effective approach to enforcing immigration laws in the interior of our country.
We are almost two years into that strategy and the verdict is in: our approach is working. We have strengthened the Southwest border in a way that many would not have thought possible. And our partnership with Mexico on border security is strong.
That’s not to say we still don’t face challenges. We are deeply concerned about the drug cartel violence taking place in Mexico. We know that these drug organizations are seeking to undermine the rule of law in Northern Mexico and that we must guard against spillover effects into the United States.
Nonetheless, it is inaccurate to state, as too many have, that the border is overrun with violence and out of control. This statement—often made only to score political points—is just plain wrong.
Not only does it ignore all of the statistical evidence, it also belittles the significant progress that effective law enforcement has made to protect this border and the people who live alongside it.
I know this border well. I was raised in New Mexico. I have spent most of my adult life in Arizona as the U.S. Attorney, Attorney General, and as a two-term Governor.
I have walked the border, flown it, ridden it on horseback, and worked with border communities from Brownsville to San Diego for the better part 18 years as a public official. So I speak from personal experience when I say that the Southwest Border Initiative is the most comprehensive and dedicated effort to strengthen border security that we have ever deployed.
The border, as a whole, is simply not the same as it was two years ago, or even one year ago – in terms of the manpower and resources and technology; in terms of the relationships we’ve built with our federal, state, local and tribal partners; and in terms of our strong partnership with Mexico.
For the full speech please click the following link: Remarks on Border Security at the University of Texas at El Paso.