Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday several Southwest border initiatives designed to crack down on Mexican drug cartels through enhanced border security.

According to Napolitano, this plan will call on additional personnel, increased intelligence capability and better coordination with state, local and Mexican law enforcement authorities.

This issue requires immediate action, Napolitano said.

We are guided by two very clear objectives. First, we are going to do everything we can to prevent the violence in Mexico from spilling over across the border. And second, we will do all in our power to help President Calderón crack down on these drug cartels in Mexico.

With violence escalating across the border, Napolitano will increase personnel and improve screening and technology to help Mexico target illegal guns, drugs and cash.

Additionally, DHS will initiate strategic redeployments totaling more than 360 additional officers and agents at the border and in Mexico.

Costs across the board, totaling up to $184 million, will be revenue neutral, funded by realigning from less urgent activities, fund balances, and, in some cases, reprogramming.

DHS will also double assignments to ICE's Border Enforcement Security Task Forces from 95 to 190, at a cost of $5.7 million; triple the number of intelligence analysts working at the border, at a cost of $3.3 million; and increase ICE Attaché personnel, agents working in troubled areas in Mexico such as Ciudad Juarez and Hermosillo, by 50 percent, from 24 to 36 agents, at a cost of $650,000.

Further, Napolitano announced that ICE will double agents assigned to Criminal Alien Program Violent Criminal Alien Sections, located in the five Southwest border field offices, adding 50 agents and officers, at a cost of $2.3 million; and quadruple the number of agents designated as Border Liaison Officers, who work to create cooperative relationships between US and Mexican law enforcement authorities, from 10 to 40, at no cost.

DHS will send new technology to the border, bolstering Secure Communities biometric identification deployment at locations at the highest risk for violence committed by criminal aliens, at a cost of $95 million, and implementing 100 percent southbound rail screening using non-intrusive inspection equipment to detect anomalies in rail cars.

Upgraded License Plate Readers, which help identify suspected smugglers' vehicles, will be installed on 52 out of 110 outbound lanes, at a cost of $13 million total.

Finally, up to $59 million in remaining fiscal years 2006-08 Operation Stonegarden funding will be made available to enhance state, local and tribal law enforcement operations and assets along the border.

For comments and feedback: contact