February 25, 2013
Associated Press, 2/23/2013
Once, the barren mesas and shrub-covered canyons that extend east of the Pacific Ocean held the most popular routes for illegal immigrants heading into the U.S. Dozens at a time sprinted to waiting cars or a trolley stop in San Diego, passing border agents who were too busy herding others to give pause.
Now, 20 years after that onslaught, crossing would mean scaling two fences (one topped with coiled razor wire), passing a phalanx of agents and eluding cameras positioned to capture every incursion. The difference is like “a rocket ship and a horse and buggy,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on a recent tour.
October 19, 2012
US News, 10/19/2012
Violence and poverty harm the mental health of children living near the Texas-Mexico border, a new study shows.
Researchers looked at the mental health of children and teens living in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in 2007 and again in 2010. All of the children were Mexican or Mexican-American and lived in homes below the poverty level. None had a history of diagnosed mental illness.
May 2, 2012
The Washington Post / The Associated Press, 5/2/12
The lawyer for a Texas trucker who claims he made a wrong turn before taking ammunition into Mexico said Wednesday that a U.S. customs agent directed his client to cross the border, an account that contradicts what agency officials have said.
Javin Bogan was arrested April 17 when he tried to enter Mexico carrying 268,000 rounds of ammunition. He claims that he took a wrong turn after the second of his four stops of the day and was on his way to a West El Paso medical supplies company when he found himself at the bridge, unable to turn back.
Bogan’s El Paso attorney Carlos Spector said at a news conference Wednesday that Bogan told him by phone that a Customs and Borders Protection officer told him to continue across the bridge. “He talked to a guy in a blue uniform. That’s CBP… He was misdirected by CBP,” Spector said.
February 21, 2012
A woman pushing her child in a stroller in downtown El Paso, Texas, was struck by an assault rifle bullet fired from across the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Tuesday, mayor John Cook said.
After Juarez police responded to a carjacking about half a mile from the border, a gunfight broke out between police and the carjackers, Cook said. A bullet — a type used in assault weapons such as M16s — penetrated and exited the woman’s calf, he said.
The unidentified woman, 48, who was shopping, was treated at a hospital and released with minor injuries, and her child — whose age Cook did not know — was not hurt, he said. The mother, a Mexican citizen, is a legal U.S. resident living in El Paso, Cook said. “I don’t think there’s any reason for El Pasoans to panic or for anyone else to panic,” Cook said. “El Paso still remains a very safe large city.”
January 1, 2012
January 1, 2012
U.S.-Mexico security cooperation has increased dramatically as a byproduct of the Mérida Initiative, a security cooperation initiative between the United States and Mexico. The Initiative was designed to strengthen cooperation and build trust among countries in the region to better combat drug trafficking and organized crime. The following are official documents on U.S.-Mexico security cooperation and the Mérida Initiative.
August 22, 2011
Zócalo Public Square, 8/22/11
Being a war correspondent has its downsides. I’ve seen a headless body left hanging from an overpass at dawn, and covered several mass murders. At a drug rehab center I stood outside the tiny building where 17 people had been massacred on a sidewalk that was drenched in blood. I’ve talked to too many grieving victims of senseless violence, including parents of slaughtered children, and children of slaughtered parents. It all remains horrifying, trust me.
I realize there are plenty of journalists in places like Afghanistan or famine-struck Somalia who must bear witness to similar horrors, but they have to fly across many time zones to encounter them. What’s surreal about my reporting assignment is that I commute to it from America’s quotidian tranquility – sometimes I even swing by my Starbucks drive-thru en route to the war zone next door.
Indeed, I live in one of the safest cities in the United States – El Paso, Texas, had the lowest crime rate among large cities in CQ Press’ 2010 crime report – and work in one of the world’s most notorious murder capitals – Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
August 17, 2011
The Texas Tribune, 8/17/11
The federal government’s top border official, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin, fought back this week against heightened criticism of President Obama’s border security policy, saying the present-day border is more secure than ever.
At the same conference, U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, responded to Gov. Rick Perry‘s bid for the White House by telling a reporter, “I have to go to the bathroom and throw up.” The congressman has long been a critic of what he says is Perry’s misrepresentation of the border as a lawless territory.
Bersin, a keynote speaker at the Eighth Annual Border Security Conference at the University of Texas at El Paso, said Tuesday that the first line of defense against the political rhetoric painting the Texas borderlands as war zones is border residents themselves.
August 16, 2011
El Paso Times, 8/16/11
This country’s trade with Mexico is stronger than ever despite the drug-cartel violence gripping that country, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk told participants at the annual Border Security Conference at the University of Texas at El Paso on Monday.
Kirk also emphasized that the North American Free Trade Agreement has worked well and the best way to create more jobs in this country is for Congress to quickly approve three new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
August 15, 2011
The Miami Herald, 8/15/11
Local officials promote El Paso as America’s safest city even if it sits next to one of the world’s deadliest: Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
While visitors rarely encounter crime here, links between El Paso and the violence in Ciudad Juárez have emerged more sharply as investigators stepped up operations in the wake of the February killing of a federal agent in Mexico and as increasing numbers of El Pasoans mourn friends and relatives slain on the other side of the border.
August 4, 2011
Over the last four years of the Mexican drug war, the country’s northern border has become one of the most violent parts of the country. Yet recently that same part of Mexico has been booming economically.
The duty-free maquiladora assembly plants along the border are rapidly adding jobs, and exports to the United States are reaching record levels.
Juarez, just across from El Paso, Texas, is the murder capital of Mexico and one of the world’s most violent cities. Drug-related violence in Juarez killed more than 3,000 people last year. Extortion, carjacking and kidnapping are rampant.