U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today several southwest border initiatives designed to crack down on Mexican drug cartels through enhanced border security. The plan calls for additional personnel, increased intelligence capability and better coordination with state, local and Mexican law enforcement authorities.
“This issue requires immediate action,” Napolitano said. “We are guided by two very clear objectives. First, we are going to do everything we can to prevent the violence in Mexico from spilling over across the border. And second, we will do all in our power to help President Calderón crack down on these drug cartels in Mexico.”
The announcement comes as the drug war in Mexico spills over into the United States. There are kidnappings in Phoenix and there's been gun play in Atlanta. Three illegal Mexican immigrants just pleaded guilty yesterday to drug-related federal kidnapping charges in Atlanta Federal Court.
The announcement reflects an emphasis on information sharing and integration with state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as an effort to further engage Mexican authorities. With violence escalating across the border, Napolitano is pledging to increase personnel and improve screening and technology to help Mexico target illegal guns, drugs and cash.
In addition, DHS will initiate strategic redeployments totaling more than 360 additional officers and agents at the border and in Mexico.
They are paying for all this through what they are calling realigning and reprogramming. And that has some people concerned that other enforcement activities, like busting companies that hire illegal aliens, may now be underfunded.
One of those who is concerned about that is House Judiciary Committee ranking member Lamar Smith (R-TX). Smith says he supports the administration's efforts to address border violence. But is concerned about these details.“While I support the administration’s plan to increase resources and personnel along the border, I am concerned that the redeployment may come at the expense of other critical law enforcement activities," he said.
"The administration appears to be using border violence as an excuse to reduce interior enforcement of our immigration laws and enact gun restrictions. With hundreds of federal law enforcement officers being relocated to the border, we must ensure that we do not undercut our national security and immigration enforcement responsibilities.”
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