Obama tours port facility steps from Mexico
President Obama checks confiscated items at a border post between the U.S. and Mexico
May 10th, 2011
05:41 PM ET

Obama tours port facility steps from Mexico

EL PASO, Texas (CNN) - Prior to delivering remarks on his vision for comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama toured the largest of four crossings that make up the El Paso Port of Entry Tuesday.

“How’s it going,” Obama asked officers from the Customs and Border Protection on hand to greet him, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Customs and Border Protection commissioner Alan Bersin at the Bridge of the Americas Port of Entry. The facility processes private and commercial vehicle and pedestrian traffic on the U.S.- Mexican border.

Looking out on the bridge just a few hundred yards away from Mexico, Obama inspected an x-ray machine that is used to check the contents of trucks crossing the border.

“We don’t want bad guys wearing this,” Obama said a few moments later pointing to a bullet proof vest sitting on a table with other contraband that had been confiscated. With fake passports and gun holsters on display, the president was puzzled when he came upon another item of contraband. “Alfalfa seed? People are trying to smuggle alfalfa seed?” An officer guiding Obama on the tour explained the specific seeds on display were not allowed in the U.S.

“Keep up the great work,” Obama said to the officers as he left the facility to deliver his remarks on immigration reform at the Chamizal National Memorial.

In a conference call with reporters Monday to discuss the president’s trip to Texas, a senior administration official said the visit to the border crossing was being made to highlight the economic benefits from increased cross-border commerce that could come from immigration reform legislation.

Of the half a billion inspections conducted annually at the 327 ports of entry throughout the country, approximately ten percent will enter through the El Paso Port of Entry according to a press release from the White House.

In addition to focusing the beginning of his visit to Texas on immigration reform, Obama planned to switch gears in the evening by attending two DNC fundraisers in Austin before flying back to Washington.

Topics: Economy • Immigration • President Obama

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Kimberly

    Here's the math I don't get: Illegals are clearly bad for the US (as Obama noted), and giving them citizenship will be rewarding a bunch of people who shouldn't even be here as tourists with citizenship as a token of thanks for breaking our laws, while legal immigrants can barely dream of citizenship. Meanwhile, we'll have a huge new permanent underclass of welfare recipients who can't speak the language and plunge education and income levels. http://bit.ly/iV1Nzs

    May 11, 2011 at 6:24 am |
  2. Jorge

    Why is it the the news always get the name wrong? The agency name is US Customs and Border PROTECTION not Customs and Border Patrol.

    May 11, 2011 at 7:54 am |