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U.S. Rep. barber calls on Obama to pick new DHS

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Ron Barber

Posted: Friday, July 12, 2013 3:50 pm

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today urged President Obama to quickly replace outgoing Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano with someone who understands “the importance of a secure border and the unique border issues experienced by those living and working on the Southwest border.” 

Barber, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and ranking member of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee, also said the new secretary must “make border and economic security a top priority.” 

Barber thanks Napolitano for her service during more than four years as secretary of Homeland Security. He wishes her well and said that he looks forward to working with her successor on the many challenges facing the nation. 

In a letter to the president, Barber asked that a replacement be selected who will immediately be ready to take over when Napolitano leaves office in early September. 

“It is absolutely critical that the new DHS secretary have an understanding of issues facing residents who work and reside along the U.S.-Mexico border and has the ability to effectively manage the department in a transparent and accountable manner,” Barber wrote. “I also ask that one of the first official duties of the new secretary be to come to southern Arizona to see and hear from the residents and Customs and Border Patrol employees who are working to secure the border and expedite the flow of legal commercial traffic.”

The text of Barber’s letter:

July 12, 2013

 

President Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear President Obama:

 

I write to you regarding the decision that was announced today by Secretary Janet Napolitano that she will be leaving her position as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. I urge you to nominate a new secretary as soon as possible to ensure continuity in our domestic security work.  Our nation cannot afford a gap in leadership at a time when we need to expand our efforts to secure the nation's borders.  

I respectfully request that you nominate a replacement who will be well-prepared to immediately take over when Secretary Napolitano leaves. This person must understand the importance of a secure border and the unique border issues experienced by those living and working on the Southwest border. 

The area of the border that I represent is the most porous for the smuggling of illegal drugs, and continues to have one of the highest rates of apprehension of people entering the country illegally. The 83 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border in my district is in need of the resources that will provide stronger security along the border – so that the people I represent can be assured of safety on their land and in their homes. 

As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and ranking member of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee, I have worked with members of both parties on legislation that requires DHS to develop a plan to secure the border, one that includes specific metrics to measure border security progress. Such a plan must be designed with the input from the people who know the border best – the men and women who live and work on the border and the law enforcement agents who patrol it. 

It is absolutely critical that the new DHS secretary have an understanding of issues facing residents who work and reside along the U.S.-Mexico border and has the ability to effectively manage the department in a transparent and accountable manner. I also ask that one of the first official duties of the new secretary be to come to southern Arizona to see and hear from the residents and Customs and Border Patrol employees who are working to secure the border and expedite the flow of legal commercial traffic.

It is important that your nominee understand that an efficient border crossing system is the key to a strong economy. Thousands of people and millions of dollars of goods move through our ports of entry daily, and we must have both border security and economic security for the good of our local economy, for Arizona and for the nation. 

For far too long, Arizona has borne the brunt of the federal government’s inability to secure our border. We have made some progress, but we still have a long way to go. We need to put a plan in place to secure our border now, and I ask that you move quickly to nominate a new secretary who will make border and economic security a top priority.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Ron Barber

Member of Congress

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