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President Obama Signs the Southwest Border Security Bill
12:12 PM EDT
This morning the President signed the Southwest Border Security Bill in the Oval Office. The President issued a statement yesterday after it was passed in Congress explaining that this has been focus of his Administration from the very beginning:
I have made securing our Southwest Border a top priority since I came to office. That is why my administration has dedicated unprecedented resources and personnel to combating the transnational criminal organizations that traffic in drugs, weapons, and money, and smuggle people across the border with Mexico. Today's action by Congress answers my call to bolster the essential work of federal law enforcement officials and improve their ability to partner with state, local, and tribal law enforcement. The resources made available through this legislation will build upon our successful efforts to protect communities along the Southwest border and across the country. And this new law will also strengthen our partnership with Mexico in targeting the gangs and criminal organizations that operate on both sides of our shared border.
The White House also released a fact sheet detailing the extensive efforts taken across the Administration on border security, closing with some of the tangible results already being demonstrated:
Seized, through the combined efforts of CBP and ICE, more than $103 million in illegal currency, more than 1.7 million kilograms of drugs and more than 1,400 firearms – increases of more than $47 million, more than 450,000 kilograms of drugs and more than 300 firearms compared to 2008.
Seized, through the combined efforts of CBP and ICE, more than $39.2 million in southbound illegal currency – an increase of more than $29.4 million compared to 2008.
DOJ-led multi-agency law enforcement investigations (which may include DEA, FBI, ATF, ICE, CBP, and others) “Project Deliverance” resulted in more than 2,200 arrests, seizure of approximately 74 tons of drugs and $154 million in U.S. currency; “Project Coronado” resulted in the arrest of 303 individuals in 19 states and seizure of $3.4 million in U.S. currency, 729 pounds of methamphetamine, 62 kilograms of cocaine, 967 pounds of marijuana, 144 weapons and 109 vehicles; “Operation Xcellerator” resulted in the arrest of more than 750 individuals on narcotics-related charges and the seizure of more than 23 tons of narcotics and more than $59 million in cash;
Additionally, the San Diego DHS Maritime Unified Command, composed of U.S. Coast Guard, CBP, ICE, DEA and other law enforcement partners, saw a more than six-fold increase in maritime drug interdictions in the Pacific waters extending from the Southwest border—seizing 57,437 pounds of drugs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 compared to 8,884 pounds seized in FY 2008. Already in FY 2010, the Coast Guard has seized 11,500 pounds of drugs across the San Diego sector.
Statistics reflect a significant reduction in the number of people attempting to cross U.S. borders illegally. CBP statistics show that illegal immigration into the United States is down, with apprehensions between points of entry having dropped as a result.
Since 2004, the Border Patrol has doubled in size to over 20,000 Border Patrol agents.