Bersin gets encore as SW border czar
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is expected Wednesday to name Alan Bersin to be the Southwest border czar, as the Obama administration ramps up efforts to control illegal immigration and help the Mexican government in its violent war against drug lords, according to the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press.
Bersin was the top candidate to be the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, AmericanShipper.com previously reported, until the drug violence flared out of control. Last month, Napolitano announced a major initiative crackdown on smuggling of guns and cash from the United States that are fueling the drug organizations.
A former federal prosecutor, Bersin held a similar post during the Clinton administration. Among his responsibilities will be to improve coordination among federal law enforcement agencies working along the border with Mexico, as well as improve ties with state and local authorities in the region.
Bersin, 62, is chairman of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. He served during the Clinton administration as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California for almost five years and as the Justice Department's first border czar from 1995 to 1998 responsible for coordinating federal law enforcement along the Mexican border. He was credited for an enforcement blitz and improved relations with Mexican officials that temporarily helped stem the tide of illegal immigration from Tijuana to San Diego.
From July 2005 to December 2006, Bersin was California's secretary of education. Before joining Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration, he spent seven years as school superintendent for San Diego.
Napolitano plans to travel to the Southwest border on Wednesday to survey border operations in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and discuss security operations with state and local law enforcement officials ' Eric Kulisch