U.S. Border Security Programs Hailed A Success in Georgia
July 11, 2007
Georgia has made rapid progress in controlling its borders as a result of U.S. Government assistance. The establishment of a computerized command and control system and communications upgrades has improved many areas: border post facilities, extensive training of border police and customs officials. These have led to management improvements which have amplified Georgia's ability to prevent the passage of terrorists, weapons, and illegal drugs. Enhanced infrastructure at ports of entry along with competent inspectors now enables customs officials to seize contraband at an increasing rate as well as augment customs revenue. In 2006, Georgia's border police and customs authorities foiled 148 smuggling attempts, increased drug seizures and detected 131 cases of forged entry documents. The Georgian Coast Guard apprehended 21 ships for various infractions. Installation and operation of an improved personal identification and registration system enabled the monitoring of persons crossing the borders. As a sign of their commitment to protect their borders, in 2006, the Government of Georgia increased its budget for the border patrol by 80 percent. In addition, the Border Police have now funded two of their own border crossing projects. U.S. Government and Government of Georgia collaboration have enhanced Georgia's security by improving the capacity of border police and customs authorities and opened the door for further partnerships in various mutually beneficial areas. In 2007, using FREEDOM Support Act Funds, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will provide over $4 million in assistance to the Georgian Border Guards.