The Transatlantic Coordinator Peter Beyer issued the following statement today (28 February) in Tucson, Arizona:
The situation at the US-Mexican border is currently dominating political discourse in the United States and is also leaving its mark on transatlantic dialogue. Far from the heated political atmosphere in Washington, DC, I was able to see the situation for myself in Arizona. The US Customs and Border Protection officers spoke openly about the challenges they face in their work: drug smuggling, illegal immigration, anti-terrorism. The border protection officers are working in a barren desert landscape in extreme temperatures where shifts can last more than ten hours.
The equipment they use ranges from drones and helicopters to bicycles and horses. For me, it was very impressive to see the conviction and passion with which they are performing this difficult task. A wall is not top of the officers’ wish list, rather more staff, better equipment and improved border security where it is needed. What they have is little understanding for political manoeuvrings and obstructionist tactics – no matter which side is engaging in them. I would like to thank the border protection officers very much for giving me these deep and unfiltered insights into their important work.
Peter Beyer, Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation in the Field of Intersocietal Relations, Cultural and Information Policy, is currently visiting Tucson, Arizona, and Houston, Texas. In Arizona, he visited the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and gained an insight into the situation at the US-Mexican border at the Nogales port of entry, some 100 kilometres south of Tucson. US border protection officers regularly manage to make major drug busts here: A month ago, for example, they seized almost 300 kgs of fentanyl und meth with an estimated value of some four million euros. Last weekend, drugs valued at 3.8 million euros were seized in just one day. With more than 60,000 staff members, the US Customs and Border Protection is one of the world’s largest law enforcement agencies and reports to the US Department of Homeland Security. It monitors people and goods entering the United States and is responsible for anti-terrorism, drug smuggling and illegal immigration.