"We don’t eliminate risks, we manage risks," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at a Heritage Foundation press conference Monday in a lecture called "Charting a Path Forward."
Chertoff said there are three critical areas to look at in the following year: preparedness for all hazards, illegal migration, and protecting our critical infrastructure.
Chertoff said the essence of being prepared is planning. This year there will be more preparations for hurricanes, beginning with state and local compliance. He stressed that ultimately preparedness lies in the individual, and those able-bodied enough to be prepared should do so; therefore, help can go to those who are truly in need.
As for border control, Chertoff said the public is demanding solutions. He compared those critical of being able to manage borders to those who said the mafia would never fall. Borders can be controlled and will — just like the mob is not the formidable force it once was. He said high-tech solutions will be implemented, from satellites to other forms of surveillance and fencing. Chertoff said the current policy of catch and release for non-Mexicans who make it across the border, will be turned into catch and remove. This will discourage illegals from coming into America, getting caught, and then simply being released without being deported.
Chertoff said that 100 percent of containers entering our ports are screened, and that new technology is constantly being implemented for transportation security. If every package entering the U.S. were hand-screened, it would destroy the maritime industry, but Chertoff assured that everything possible is being done to screen incoming shipments, either at our ports or abroad.
In conclusion, Chertoff said that issues wax and wan in the media, but that doesn’t mean "we aren’t paying attention to these threats 24/7." Chertoff is working hard to eliminate risks, and wants the American people to feel assured that their Homeland Security Department is working hard and around-the-clock for the security of the United States.