Mexico’s Southern Border Strategy: Programa Frontera Sur

July 17, 2014

07/11/14 Christopher Wilson, Pedro Valenzuela

chiapasThe most common adjective used to describe Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala and Belize is probably ‘porous.’ The large volume of Central American migrants, including many families and unaccompanied minors, crossing the border on their way north to the United States suggests as much. The simultaneous operation of criminal groups involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking, migrant smuggling and other sinister pursuits in the region adds several layers to the challenge.

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DHS revises rules for use of deadly force on border

June 9, 2014

06/04/14, Homeland Security News Wire

U.S. Border PatrolmenOn 30 May DHS released new guidelines detailing when the use of force by Border Patrol officials is authorized. The lack of explicit scenarios within the rules, however, has led to questions of when such acts are truly warranted.

On 30 May DHS released new guidelines detailing when the use of force by Border Patrol officials is authorized. The lack of explicit scenarios within the rules, however, has led to questions of when such acts are truly warranted.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, these new revisions arrive amidst increasing criticism of unreasonable use of force and a much publicized, leaked damning internal report — both within the past six months. This documentation reveals some glaring abuses, including the fact “that some border agents stood in front of moving vehicles as a pretext to open fire and that agents could have moved away from rock throwers instead of shooting at them.”

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Spotlight Of Mexican Drug War Focuses On State Along U.S.-Mexico Border

May 1, 2014

drug warFox News Latino, 4/30/14

Once again, the bodies are piling up in this violent U.S.-Mexican border state.

At least 14 people died Tuesday in several firefights between federal forces and gunmen in the city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas. The dead included 10 alleged gunmen, two federal police officers and two bystanders, Tamaulipas state authorities said.

Gunmen blocked some of the industrial city’s main avenues with buses in the afternoon and then ambushed federal police officers on patrol, officials said.

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Mexico: Homicides Decline Near Border, Report Says

April 15, 2014

m16 gun closeupNY Times, 4/14/14

Murders in Mexico declined in 2013, and they decreased significantly in several cities near the border with the United States, according to a new report from the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to be released Tuesday. Using preliminary police data, researchers identified a homicide decrease of about 16 percent, with some of the biggest drops in murders in Ciudad Juárez and Monterrey, notoriously dangerous cities that have recently calmed down as the war between criminal gangs and the government has declined in intensity. Still, experts warn, it is not clear whether the decline is attributable to an overall weakening of organized crime: The number of gun-related murders has held steady as other kinds of killing have declined, and homicides have sharply risen in states farther south.

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Mexico Finds Skeletal Remains Along US Border

February 11, 2014

Jorge Duenes - ReutersAbc News, 2/11/14

Mexican officials have discovered hundreds of skeletal remains scattered on ranches in a stretch of towns along the U.S.-Mexico border as they carried out a wide search to locate missing people. Coahuila state prosecutors’ spokesman Jesus Carranza said Monday that the remains were burned and extremely hard to identify. News of the grisly finds came at the same time 12 bodies were unearthed from clandestine graves in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero and about two months after 67 bodies were found in western Mexico. Such discoveries remain common despite government claims that the number of killings has gone down in the past year.

 

Police in Coahuila haven’t said whether an organized crime group is suspected in the skeletal remains, but the area is known to be dominated by the violent Zetas drug cartel. Officers have arrested 10 men, including four police officers suspected of aiding a criminal group, the state attorney general’s office said in a press release.

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Mexican national to be sentenced for killing border agent Brian Terry

February 11, 2014

hands in handcuffsLA Times, 2/10/14

A federal judge could sentence a Mexican national Monday to up to 30 years to life in prison for the 2010 killing of Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry just south of Tucson, a slaying that led to the unraveling of the failed federal gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious. Manuel Osorio-Arellanes pled guilty in October 2012 to first-degree murder. He was part of a group of bandits who engaged in a shootout with Terry and three other Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona.

Terry’s mother, Josephine Terry, is expected to testify before the court, a family spokesperson said in a prepared statement. Terry’s sisters, brother and chairman of the Brian Terry Foundation are also expected to show at the sentencing. In a prepared statement, Terry’s sister Kelly Terry-Willis stressed the importance of border security before consideration of any immigration overhaul.

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Keeping American Border Safe Means Thinking in 4-D

February 5, 2014

drawing bar chartBloomberg, 2/4/14

The Internet, modern transportation systems, supply chains, climate change, and transnational groups from criminal syndicates to nongovernmental organizations all confound boundaries set down on a map. As a result, managing our borders in a way that balances security with commerce, enforcement with freedom of movement, and now the physical with the virtual world has become even more difficult. Unfortunately, much of the U.S. debate about border management still dwells on the southern border and the interdiction of undocumented immigrants and contraband.

That’s important, but the larger and more demanding task the U.S. faces is to build a border management system suited to the complexities of the 21st century. Here are some of the challenges that must be overcome:

A foreign-flagged vessel carrying containers from China to Los Angeles, one of several hundred a day that form a critical link in global supply chains, notifies the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection of its arrival 96 hours in advance. En route, a satellite-based system tracks the ship’s position, course and speed. The vessel’s history, its owner, cargo and other information are vetted against databases for anomalies. If necessary, the vessel is held offshore until it is boarded, or met by inspectors at the dock. Containers are subject to random inspections and detection technologies, but few are actually inspected. In most cases, the analysis of shipping information constitutes the virtual clearance of the cargo into the country — a balance of security and trade that informs a new vision of the border.

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