Alan Bersin was named the Homeland Security Department’s “Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs” this morning.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Bersin, a former San Diego U.S. attorney and superintendent of San Diego City Schools, would lead the department’s efforts to crack down on violence along the southwest border. It’s a new position created by President Obama.
“Alan brings years of vital experience working with local, state and international partners to help us meet the challenges we face at our borders,” Napolitano said in a statement. “He will lead the effort to make our borders safe while working to promote commerce and trade.”
The announcement was made in El Paso, Texas, during Napolitano’s three-stop tour of the southwestern border. She will then join the president on his trip to see Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City.
Bersin was also scheduled to hit the road immediately, with stops planned in the border communities of Del Rio, Laredo, Hidalgo, McAllen, and Brownsville, where he will meet with local law enforcement to discuss coordination across the border and with federal, state and local authorities.
A press release touted Bersin’s previous work as “Border Czar” while U.S. attorney in San Diego in the 1990s. During that time Bersin coordinated law enforcement efforts from South Texas to Southern California and advised then-Attorney General Janet Reno on law enforcement strategies to combat illegal immigration, human and drug trafficking.
During his tenure as U.S. attorney and border czar, Napolitano noted, Bersin tripled felony prosecutions, including immigration and drug offenses.