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Former Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Visits Campus

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 1, 2018) – Alan Bersin has served in many roles during his career – including a stint as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection under President Barack Obama.

Last week, the former “Border Czar” met with students, faculty and staff at UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy and College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity to discuss his professional experiences and the future of trade and border security in today’s globalized world.

His three-day campus tour included:

Alan Bersin speaks in UAlbany's Campus Center.
Alan Bersin gives open talk in the Campus Center titled “Trade, Migration and Border Security: The Future is Not What It Used to Be.” (Photo by Mike Nolan)

Bersin finished his visit with an open talk in the Campus Center titled “Trade, Migration and Border Security: The Future is Not What It Used to Be.” It included a Q&A with the audience, moderated by CEHC Dean Robert Griffin.

“Our focus should not be on sealing the border or having an absolute ban on people coming in and out of the country. Instead, we need to continue with the vetting and screening process that is happening right now, maintaining acceptable levels of security, and doing it within the constraints of our resources,” Bersin said.

“The idea that we need a ‘Great Wall of China’ to keep migrants out is more of a political metaphor than a realistic objective.”

Bersin served as the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from 2010-2011. As commissioner, he oversaw the operations of CBP’s 58,000-employee work force and managed an operating budget of more than $12 billion.

He is currently a fellow at Harvard, senior advisor to the law firm of Covington & Burling, and chairman of the BorderWorks Group.

You can learn more about him here.

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