ABU DHABI, UAE - Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton and Major General Nasser Al Awadhi Al Menhali, Acting Assistant Undersecretary of naturalization, Residency and Port Affairs for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in Abu Dhabi to render assistance in the development of the Emirates Naturalization and Residency Academy.
The agreement leverages the expertise of former U.S. immigration and customs officers combined with comprehensive academic and technical training provided by the UAE Ministry of Interior to strengthen the capabilities of UAE immigration officers.
"I hope this academy will serve as a model to all the countries in the region of what pioneering vision and bilateral commitment can achieve, and that they may build on this with future cooperative initiatives to enhance the security and safety of all who cross their borders," said Morton during the signing ceremony. "This training will help improve the effectiveness of the United States in investigating and prosecuting transnational offenses involving violations of U.S. immigration and customs law that might stem from this region."
This agreement will allow former ICE and CBP agents to return to service under the UAE Ministry of Interior and serve as the training cadre with coordination and support from ICE Attaché in Abu Dhabi.
Graduates of the academy serve as the UAE's first line of defense against criminal and terrorist threats, the smuggling and trafficking of human beings as well as drugs, weapons and other contraband. The UAE, whose population is over 80 percent foreign, is currently home to citizens of more than 200 countries and serves as the Middle East's largest east-west transit hub.