Administration Officials Announce U.S.-Mexico Border Security Policy: A Comprehensive Response & Commitment
Today, Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg and United States Deputy Attorney General David Ogden will lay out the Administration’s comprehensive response to the situation along the border with Mexico. President Obama and his Administration are focused on all aspects of the U.S. relationship with Mexico because it is vital to core U.S. national interests.
The President is concerned by the increased level of violence, particularly in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana, and the impact that it is having on the communities on both sides of the border. He believes that the United States must continue to monitor the situation and guard against spillover into the United States. And the President is firmly committed to ensuring our borders are secure and we are doing all we can to reduce illegal flows in both direction across the border.
We are taking steps on both sides of the border, working with our Mexican partners, to support the Mexican government’s campaign against the violent cartels and to reduce contraband in both directions across the border.
o Under the Merida Initiative, we are investing $700 million this year to work in collaboration with Mexico on law enforcement and judicial capacity.
o DOJ, DHS, and Treasury are all ramping up personnel and efforts directed at the Southwest border.
o We are renewing our commitment to reduce the demand for illegal drugs here at home.
The President admires President Calderon’s courage and determination to confront and dismantle the drug cartels and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him in that fight. Mexico undoubtedly faces serious challenges, but it is vigorously confronting them. Mexico’s drug-related violence is carried out among the warring cartels and against government forces. To the extent we have seen related violence in the United States it has been cartel-on-cartel.
Because this effort has so many facets, the U.S.-Mexico relationship and our efforts to help address the increase in violence in Mexico are being coordinated at the White House through the NSC and HSC.
We are investing $700 million this year in enhancing Mexican law enforcement and judicial capacity and working closely to coordinate our efforts against the cartels.
• Congress has appropriated (FY08 Supp, FY09 Omnibus) $700 million to support Mexico’s security and institution building efforts under the Merida Initiative. These funds will help to improve law enforcement, crime prevention and strengthen institution building and rule of law. That money will provide:
o Increased capacity for Mexican border security efforts to help stem illegal flows in both directions across the border;
o Non-intrusive inspection technology to enhance Mexican interdiction efforts;
o Training for rule of law and judicial reform efforts;
o Information technology to enable Mexican prosecutors, law enforcement, and immigration officials to communicate securely;
o 5 helicopters to increase air mobility for the Mexican Army and Air Force, and a surveillance aircraft for the Mexican Navy.
o Support and training for implementation of Mexico’s new legal system and to strengthen observance of human rights by judicial authorities and police; and
o Help for Mexican prosecutors’ offices to develop an effective witness and victim protection programs.