Homeland Security Chief Visits US-Mexico Border

Monday, Jan 31, 2011  |  Updated 9:30 AM CDT
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Homeland Security Chief Visits US-Mexico Border

AP

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks during a luncheon to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Denver on Thursday, June 24, 2010. The NALEO conference is the largest gathering of Latino elected and appointed officials in the United States.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is scheduled to speak in West Texas on Monday about efforts to combat drug violence and keep the U.S.-Mexico border secure.

Napolitano will be at the University of Texas at El Paso, across the Rio Grande from Matamoros, Mexico, as part of a yearlong tour taking her to colleges and universities around the country.

Later in the day, the former Arizona governor heads to Dallas, where she plans to discuss security for Super Bowl week.

Napolitano began her campus visits last week at George Washington University in Washington, delivering a "State of America's Homeland Security" address, a speech she promised would become a new tradition.

She announced that the U.S. was scrapping its color-coded alert system, replacing it over the next three months with the National Terrorism Advisory System. The new format calls for notifying specific audiences about specific threats.

Napolitano did not mention Mexico in that speech, but she did say her department has helped successfully reduced the flow of illegal immigrants sneaking into U.S. territory.

She said the number of illegal crossings into the U.S. is now down by half from its all-time high, without mentioning numbers.

Analysts say that while the number of illegal immigrants coming into the United States has fallen, the sluggish U.S. economy and a dearth of jobs have been major factors.

Again without mention specific data, Napolitano said that in fiscal year 2010, more illegal aliens with criminal records were deported than ever -- a 70 percent increase from two years ago.

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