U.S.-Mexico: Border Liaison Groups—the Bread and Butter of Cooperation

August 27, 2013

Photo by Flikr user Rockin RobinAula Blog, 8/27/2013

Drug traffickers often find ingenious ways to get their product across the U.S.-Mexico border, but cooperation among Border Liaison Officers can often stop them. In Mexicali, one trafficker used a pneumatic cannon attached to his truck bed to shoot packages of marijuana across the border for pickup. After some surveillance, Border Patrol caught the truck in action. Agents took down the license plate number and called an officer in the Mexicali police department, who looked up the number, tracked down the truck’s owner, and made an arrest. Border Patrol agents knew who to call in Mexicali because they belong to the same border liaison group.

Although they receive little public attention, border liaison groups are a crucial part of the cooperative infrastructure between the two nations. They allow cooperation to continue during, and in spite of, political transitions, diplomatic imbroglios, and other shifts in bilateral relations.

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Mexican drug cartel activity in U.S. said to be exaggerated in widely cited federal report

August 26, 2013

mexican drugsThe Washington Post, 8/25/2013

When Sen. John McCain spoke during an Armed Services Committee hearing last year on security issues in the Western Hemisphere, he relayed a stark warning about the spread of Mexican drug cartels in the United States. McCain based his remarks on a report by a now-defunct division of the Justice Department, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), which had concluded in 2011 that Mexican criminal organizations, including seven major drug cartels, were operating in more than 1,000 U.S. cities.

But the number, widely reported by news organizations across the country, is misleading at best, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and drug policy analysts interviewed by The Washington Post. They said the number is inflated because it relied heavily on self-reporting by law enforcement agencies, not on documented criminal cases involving Mexican drug-trafficking organizations and cartels.

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Op-ed: Mexico: More Than Borders and Beaches

August 15, 2013

shutterstock_102739391By Mark R. Kennedy, The Huffington Post, 8/14/2013

The biggest surprise from my recent visit to Mexico was how wide the gap is between how most Americans perceive our neighbor to the south and the reality of what it is today.

The view of Mexico from the United States seems to either fixate on the struggles we have along the border or the attractiveness of their seemingly endless number of magnificent beaches. The truth is that in between that challenging border and inviting beaches lies a country of 116 million enterprising people on the move. The United States ignores that reality to its detriment.

Five experiences from my trip highlight aspects of Mexico that most Americans ignore.

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Op-ed: How Dumb Is Immigration Debate? This Dumb.

August 9, 2013

shutterstock_24590917By Ezra Klein, Bloomberg, 8/8/2013

Everything you know about immigration, particularly unauthorized immigration, is wrong. So says Princeton University’s Doug Massey, anyway. Massey is one of the nation’s preeminent immigration scholars. And he thinks we’ve wasted a whole lot of money on immigration policy and are about to waste a whole lot more.

Massey slices the history of Mexico-to-U.S. migration in five periods. Early in the 20th century, there was the era of “the hook,” when Japan stopped sending workers to the U.S. and the mining, agriculture and railroad industries begged Mexican laborers to replace them. It’s called “the hook” because laborers were recruited with promises of high wages, signing bonuses, transportation and lodging, most of which either never materialized or were deducted from their paychecks.

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Working Paper: Mexico and the Energy Revolution

August 8, 2013

Energy -electricity_transmission_linesMexican Council on Foreign Relations – COMEXI

The global energy situation changed in that short period and with it the world map. North America,  particularly the United States and Canada, are leading a deep energy revolution that is providing   access to the world of hydrocarbons that were not considered economically or technically recoverable  in the past. Many of these resources are proposing an accelerated trans formation of industrial  processes based on natural gas, which leads to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and provides a few years to continue to develop renewable sources to replace hydrocarbons in due time. The old American dream of energy self- sufficiency may be possible, as well as a revival of its manufacturing capacity, and a profound transformation of the power and influence of all countries on the global energy diagram. That, which used to be a fact, is no longer true for anyone.
To view the rest of the article read the PDF.
The Energy Working Group’s material can be found here.

New Article: Two Reasons Why Laredo Has Less Homicides than Nuevo Laredo

August 7, 2013

InSightLogo_main_24bitBy Steven Dudley, 8/7/2013

So-called spillover violence has long been a concern of residents of U.S. communities along the Southwest border, yet spikes in violent crime along the Mexican side of the border rarely impact rates of violence in the United States. InSight Crime’s Steven Dudley exams the forces behind these statistics in Nuevo Laredo and Laredo.

Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, sister cities along the US-Mexico border, are almost the same size. They have very similar economic motors, cultural heritage, populations and socio-economic indicators. Yet, in 2012, Nuevo Laredo had at least 36 times the number of murders. Why?

It is a question that is pondered up and down this 1,951-mile border, especially after the explosions of violence in Tijuana and Juarez during the last decade, places that sit across from San Diego and El Paso respectively, two of the safest cities in the United States.

To view the rest of the article read the PDF

9 Mexican immigrants who took part in deportation protest win first step in bid for asylum

August 7, 2013

Border - MexicoThe Washington Post, 8/6/2013

The Homeland Security Department tentatively approved asylum requests for nine Mexican immigrants, including some who were living in the United States illegally but left and attempted to re-enter as part of a protest against U.S. deportation policies.

The immigrants were trying to call attention to hundreds of thousands who have been deported during President Barack Obama’s administration. They had cited a credible fear of persecution should they return to Mexico. An immigration judge will have the final say whether they can remain permanently in the United States.

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