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Blog Category: Secretary Janet Napolitano

The Southwest Border Is Open for Business

El Paso now has one of the lowest crime rates among big American cities.

Posted by Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary Gary Locke

This op-ed appeared in The Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2011

Over the last few weeks, mayors, sheriffs, business leaders and citizens have joined together with a simple but powerful message: America's Southwest border communities are open for business. This is a message the American people need to hear.

Unfortunately, there is a widespread misperception that the Southwest is wracked by violence spilling over from Mexico's ongoing drug war. The facts tell a different story. Some of America's safest communities are in the Southwest border region, with crime rates in cities along the border staying steady or dropping over the past decade. For example, the crime rate in Tucson, Ariz., fell 15% between 2008 and 2009 and 21% in Brownsville, Texas, over the same period.

In the last two years, the Obama administration has made historic deployments of manpower, technology and infrastructure to help secure our Southwest border. These efforts—along with the heroic work of our Border Patrol agents—are paying off.

Between fiscal years 2009 and 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized 81% more currency, 25% more drugs, and 47% more weapons along the Southwest border than they did between fiscal years 2007 and 2008. Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal aliens—the best indicator of illegal immigration—have dropped by 36% over the past two years to less than a third of its all-time high.