WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will name former Justice Department official Alan Bersin to oversee its policy on illegal immigration and drug-related violence along the U.S. border with Mexico, Politico reported on Tuesday.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was expected to announce the appointment on Wednesday, during a visit to El Paso, Texas, the report said, citing an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The announcement was scheduled to take place one day before President Barack Obama planned to stop in Mexico before traveling to Trinidad and Tobago for the Fifth Summit of the Americas.
A former U.S. attorney in San Diego, Bersin served previously as border czar to former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, the report said. He also served as California's education secretary and as superintendent of schools in San Diego.
White House officials said on Monday that Obama's visit to Mexico was a signal of support for Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his efforts to confront violent drug trafficking gangs.
Curbing drug cartel violence is a top concern for authorities in both the United States and Mexico, where warring traffickers killed 6,300 people last year.
The U.S. government announced plans last month to help Mexican authorities combat the gangs south of the border, as well as stepping up efforts to choke off the southbound flow of U.S. guns and smuggling profits to the cartels.