U.S. and Mexican border mayors meet in San Diego

August 27, 2012

UT San Diego, 8/24/12

A group of border mayors who met in San Diego on Friday called for nontraditional financing, including public-private partnerships, to build badly needed border crossings in the face of limited federal funding…

“I think we’re seeing the border mayors begin to consolidate themselves as an organization,” said Andrew Selee, vice president for programs of the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., and a senior advisor to its Mexico Institute. “They seem to be gaining strength, which is a positive sign.”

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Join Us Monday July 16th for an Event on How to Build a 21st Century Border

July 13, 2012

To RSVP click here.

We cordially invite you to a discussion on developing efficient and secure border management strategies. As one of the architects of the 21st Century Border initiative, Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, will deliver a keynote address. Our panel will then seek to identify the key challenges and opportunities regarding both the security and economic dimensions of border management.

For more info visit our event page here.

Can’t make it to the event? Watch the Live webcast here.


Customs And Border Commissioner Alan Bersin Resigns

December 22, 2011

Huffington Post, 12/21/11

Time’s up for the head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who announced Thursday he is stepping down at the end of the year when his recess appointment expires.

Alan Bersin served as the administration’s Southwest “border czar” on undocumented immigration and drug smuggling. President Obama nominated him to be CBP commissioner in September 2009, and appointed him commissioner in March 2010 after the Senate failed to confirm him.

“My service as Commissioner has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my public life,” Bersin said in a statement. “I am immensely proud of the significant and meaningful achievements we have made on our borders and at our nation’s ports of entry over nearly two years.”

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Myths and Realities of U.S.-Mexico Border Spillover Effects

August 24, 2011

Shannon K. O’Neill, Latin America’s Moment, Council on Foreign Relations blog, 8/24/11

The U.S. debates over Mexico’s drug war increasingly focus on spillover violence. Border state governors Rick Perry and Jan Brewer insist that Mexican cartels are hitting their states hard, portraying the border as a lawless “war zone” in which the drug cartels and illegal Mexicans incite “terror and mayhem” on a daily basis. In stark contrast, Customs and Border Protection (CPB) Commissioner Alan Bersin and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano contend that the border has never been safer.

The statistics bear out the latter position. A recent study based on FBI figures shows that violent crime in cities within 50 miles of the border is consistently lower than state and national averages. The robbery rate in the Texas border region, for example, remained at least 30 percent lower than the state average for every year in the past decade. The data also show that the number of kidnapping cases in border areas dropped by more than half since 2009.  This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen – they do. But they happen less frequently along the border, on average, than in other parts of the United States. Despite local politicians’ concerns and rhetoric, the border is more secure than in the past, and in fact safer than the rest of the country.

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The Border is Safe, Federal Officials Say

August 17, 2011

The Texas Tribune, 8/17/11

Alan Bersin

The federal government’s top border official, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin, fought back this week against heightened criticism of President Obama’s border security policy, saying the present-day border is more secure than ever.

At the same conference, U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, responded to Gov. Rick Perry‘s bid for the White House by telling a reporter, “I have to go to the bathroom and throw up.”  The congressman has long been a critic of what he says is Perry’s misrepresentation of the border as a lawless territory.

Bersin, a keynote speaker at the Eighth Annual Border Security Conference at the University of Texas at El Paso, said Tuesday that the first line of defense against the political rhetoric painting the Texas borderlands as war zones is border residents themselves.

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Former ‘border czar’ Alan Bersin assures Mexico will succeed in drug war

January 5, 2011

El Paso Times, 1/5/2011

It is impossible to know when the drug cartel war in Mexico will end, but Alan Bersin, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, assured El Pasoans on Wednesday that Mexico will win and survive.

Bersin spent the day in El Paso as part of his tour of the U.S.-Mexico border. While in this city, he met with city officials, community leaders and law enforcement officials. He also toured the pedestrian lanes at the Paso Del Norte Bridge.

Bersin said he could not say when the drug cartel violence in Mexico will end.

“It’s going to take a long time to win this struggle,” he said. “I have great confidence that Mexico will succeed.”

The drug cartel war in Mexico has been raging for three years now. Juarez, where more than 3,000 people were killed last year, continues to be the center of that brutal battle.

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Mexico’s Drug War Compared to Fight With Mafia

August 11, 2009

Alan BersinSan Antonio Express News, 8/11/2009

Alan Bersin, the Homeland Security Department’s border czar, on Monday likened the Mexican drug war to the generation-long effort it took to topple the mafia in the U.S., saying Mexico was now acknowledging that criminals were crippling any chance of future prosperity.

Bersin was speaking as part of a panel on the Merida Initiative, the first topic of a two-day border security conference at the University of Texas at El Paso. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is expected to speak today.

The conference, the sixth for the university, is billed as a chance for high-ranking officials in the U.S. and Mexico to discuss the impacts of homeland security initiatives on the border.

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Obama set to name “border czar”

April 15, 2009
alan-bersin

Bersin

Reuters, 4/15/2009

The Obama administration will name former Justice Department official Alan Bersin to oversee its policy on illegal immigration and drug-related violence along the U.S. border with Mexico, Politico reported on Tuesday. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was expected to announce the appointment on Wednesday, during a visit to El Paso, Texas, the report said, citing an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The announcement was scheduled to take place one day before President Barack Obama planned to stop in Mexico before traveling to Trinidad and Tobago for the Fifth Summit of the Americas. A former U.S. attorney in San Diego, Bersin served previously as “border czar” to former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, the report said. He also served as California’s education secretary and as superintendent of schools in San Diego.

White House officials said on Monday that Obama’s visit to Mexico was a signal of support for Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his efforts to confront violent drug trafficking gangs.

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