A Shift to Make the Border Safe, From the Inside Out

The New York Times, 4/5/2009

The five burly, sweat-soaked customs agents were in unfamiliar territory.

They had come from frigid ports in Baltimore and Boston to work in the sweltering heat of the Southwestern border. But the biggest change was that they were looking at what was leaving the country, rather than what was coming in.

“You know, early this week I met with President Obama, and this morning I met with President Calderón of Mexico,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told them during a tour last week. “And you guys are at the cutting edge of something new we’re trying to do to make the border safer.”

“We understand that this port needs to move, that time is money, especially when it comes to trade,” said Ms. Napolitano, standing in the shadow of a line of tractor-trailers that extended as far as the eye could see. “But from now on, when trucks come into this port, they are going to see something they haven’t seen before, and that’s southbound inspections.”

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