The new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, went to Texas yesterday to check out the U.S. border with Mexico and to push immigration reform.
"Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson today traveled to McAllen, Texas to tour border operations, receive briefings on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to secure the border while facilitating lawful travel and trade, and meet with state and local law enforcement officials. Secretary Johnson thanked the men and women of DHS who work every day to secure our borders while also performing functions that are vital to our economy, and made clear that the border in this region continues to evolve and must be an area of focus for DHS in the years to come," a statement from DHS reading out Secretary Johnson's trip says.
During his visit, Secretary Johnson met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, toured border operations along the Rio Grande River, in the Rio Grande Valley and at the Port of Anzalduas, and visited the Port Isabel Detention Center. Secretary Johnson also joined U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar, U.S. Representative Ruben Hinojosa, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, Hidalgo Mayor Martin Cepeda and Texas Department of Public Safety Director and State Homeland Security Advisor Steve McCraw in a meeting with state and local law enforcement officials. During the meeting, Secretary Johnson underscored the Department’s focus on continuing to build on the historic levels of personnel, technology and resources to the Southwest border, while at the same time working to ensure we effectively and sensibly enforce our nation’s immigration laws.
The Southwest border is a region that is economically vibrant and rich in history and culture. More than half a million people and a little less than a billion dollars in goods cross the border each day, and U.S. border communities are among America’s safest cities, with crime rates staying steady or dropping over the past decade. Under this administration, DHS has dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border. CBP has more than doubled the size of the U.S. Border Patrol since 2004, keeping staffing levels along the border at an all-time high. CBP is also working to increase CBP officers performing important security and trade and travel facilitation duties, and secured Congressional funding for an additional 2,000 officers in FY14. Additionally, CBP continues to deploy proven, effective surveillance technology tailored to the operational requirements along the highest trafficked areas of the Southwest Border.
Johnson, in a statement with the read-out, re-commits to keep the U.S. border secure -- and pledges support for "commonsense reform." “Under this Administration, DHS has devoted unprecedented resources to securing the border, here in McAllen, across Texas, and across the entirety of the Southwest border - while also supporting the travel and trade that are vital to our economy,” Johnson says in the statement. “I intend to continually evaluate the border security situation in south Texas to ensure we have adequate resources to meet the important and unique challenges this region faces, and we will continue to build on the significant progress made over the last five years on the important priority of border security across our southwest border – as we work with Congress, border communities, and other partners to achieve commonsense reform that is strong on security, supports our economy, and is in line with our nation’s values.”