During a panel discussion on U.S.-Mexico security cooperation Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chief Operating Officer Thomas Winkowski said he believes significant progress has been made on border security between the U.S. and Mexico during the last five years. The panel was part of the 16th annual U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce Congressional Border Issues Conference in Washington.
Winkowski credited a strong Border Patrol presence and joint targeting efforts by the U.S. and Mexico as being instrumental in apprehending more illegal aliens and drug smugglers from Mexico along America’s southern border. He added that more security will be added to the southern border, despite the fact that CBP and other federal agencies will be facing “budget challenges” in the coming fiscal years.
Winkowski credited Mexico in helping America better secure the southern border by cooperating with the U.S. on its Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and by operating its Alliance for Secure Commerce, a program that has been an asset to American border security, he said.
He also described the importance of the new, stronger relationship with Mexico, adding that “there have been tremendous inroads” in how both sides view the southern border. “When I think of security, it is catching bad people but it is also… so we can facilitate legitimate trade and travel,” he said.