Accessibility links

US Homeland Security Chief Names 'Border Czar'


The Obama administration has named a former federal prosecutor as a so-called "border czar" to fight illegal immigration and deadly drug violence along the Mexico-U.S. border.

Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano Wednesday introduced Alan Bersin at a press conference in the Texas border town of El Paso.

Napolitano said the entire United States has a stake in the issue, saying drugs have infiltrated every U.S. state. She also noted that four states; Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California are directly affected by the security situation along the border.

Bersin said he will seek to increase cooperation with Mexico to stop the flow of drugs into the U.S., and curtail money transfers and gun smuggling from the U.S. into Mexico.

Bersin served in the Clinton administration as border czar under then-Attorney General Janet Reno. He oversaw a program, dubbed Operation Gatekeeper that cracked down on illegal migrants attempting to cross the border near San Diego, California.

Critics said that operation forced migrants to enter the U.S. through nearby desert regions, leading to an increase in migrant deaths.

Bersin also has served as superintendent of San Diego's school system, and as California's education secretary.

XS
SM
MD
LG