of Homeland Security Tom Ridge visited the San Ysidro
border crossing in San Diego April 24 in part to
ensure local officials that money is on the way to
help communities pay for costs related to security.
said he realized mobilizing at a high level financially
burdens communities. That's why President Bush signed
an emergency supplemental appropriations bill that
allocates more than $2.2 billion to help reimburse
state and local governments, he added.
Southern California, you can clearly see the entire
homeland security panorama," Ridge said, as
reported by United Press International. "As
you head north (from San Diego), you pass nuclear
power plants, oil refineries and other guarded, yet
highly visible critical infrastructure. Farther northwest
are the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the
busiest and second busiest ports in the nation. "
like many other states, also has a budget hole estimated
as high as $35 billion brought on primarily by the
slow economy but aggravated by federal mandates involving
homeland security and education programs.
Ridge met at the San
Ysidro Port of Entry
with his Mexican counterpart,
Interior Minister Santiago
Creel, to discuss the "Smart
which is intended to
and speed up border
example, San Diego's Otay Mesa crossing is often
jammed with tractor-trailers hauling goods into the
United States from Mexican maquiladora plants.
want to take every opportunity to nurture the growing
trade relationship between Mexico and the United
States," Ridge said after meeting with Creel. "We
envision a border that is open for business, secure
for the flow of people and closed to organized crime
and terrorism. The implementation of the 'Smart Border'
accord moves us closer to that goal. "
said the United States would expand the SENTRI program,
which gives low-risk border crossers a special lane
that gets them through the border with a minimum
addition, a lane for commercial traffic will be opened
at El Paso, TX, while in Tucson, AZ, the Border Patrol
will expand its efforts to safeguard illegal immigrants
crossing the border through the Arizona desert.