Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano led a delegation of administration officials to the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona where the update on the strategy, sought by Congress, was released. ...
Congress in 2006 ordered the executive branch to develop a National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy and update it every two years.
The 2011 update focuses on coordination of efforts by federal, state, local and tribal jurisdictions along the 1,969-mile border, from Brownsville to San Diego, through information and resource sharing. ...
To boost efforts along the border, the strategy would place coordination of law enforcement efforts under the Office of National Drug Control Policy director, or "drug czar," the U.S. Attorney General and the Department of Homeland Security.
The plan contains no new money or grants, instead relying on existing budget allocations for federal departments to crack down on smuggling routes through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. It also coordinates some money appropriated under the $1.4 billion Merida Initiative for Mexico to scan southbound cargo for weapons.
Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said ongoing efforts to "reduce the threat of drug trafficking along the Southwest border are paying off, but we cannot let up."
He said the strategy also calls for joint operations with Mexican military and law enforcement to interdict contraband at the border, as well as reduce consumption of drugs in both the United States and Mexico.
Texas border lawmakers have long pressed the Obama administration to integrate local and state agencies in federal strategies on the border."