Industry leaders and government officials came together last week for the annual Border Security Expo, where they discussed new priorities and opportunities in border security and immigration enforcement.
This was the second time the three-day expo has been held in San Antonio, and the second time the Border Patrol Foundation has hosted a demo day where everyone gets to test some of the latest equipment and weapons.
“This year’s expo is especially relevant since there is a new administration in place and a new approach to managing our borders,” said Thomas Winkowski, advisory board chairman for the Border Security Expo.
Days after President Donald Trump took office, he issued two executive orders targeting border security and illegal immigration. These orders redefined border security and elevated the standards and expectations from those tasked with securing the border to levels higher than they’ve ever been.
Trump not only wants the Department of Homeland Security to build a border wall but wants to end all illegal immigration, something many here see as a new business opportunity. The expo this year attracted some 200 attendees from 37 states and 14 countries, most with hopes of networking with local, state, federal and international government decision-makers.
More than 100 vendors selling anything from armored vehicles to drones showcased their products at the convention center’s exhibit hall, while panelists discussed biometrics, cyber security and ways to counter transnational organized crime.
Keynote speakers including Deputy Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Daniel Ragsdale and Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol Ronald Vitiello spoke about the importance of border experts coming together every year for the expo to share ideas from both the public and private sectors.
“People don’t realize the necessary relationships, the work that we do together,” Vitiello said to a crowd mostly comprised of entrepreneurs and law enforcement officials. “The innovation, the technology, the logistics, the information that you help us with, it’s important because your products help us meet the mission.”
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