Key Mexico-US Border Crossing Remains Closed After Damage

5/23/2017 New York Times

border2MEXICO CITY — A major commercial border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico will remain closed this week as a result of damaging winds and rain.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says in a statement that the World Trade Bridge connecting Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Laredo, Texas, will hopefully reopen on May 29.

Strong winds Sunday afternoon ripped roofing off port-of-entry buildings, flipped over tractor-trailers, knocked out power and soaked computers on the Mexican side. Downed power poles and billboards block access to the bridge. Facilities on the U.S. side suffered similar roof damage and experienced flooding in offices.

The statement Tuesday said here were no reported injuries.

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ARTICLE | Mexico and the U.S. Agree on a Vision for Fighting Drugs

5/23/2017 The Mexico Institute

34353446110_c9b4d9c552_z.jpgMexico and the United States appear to have reached broad agreement on a framework for fighting the organized criminal groups that are responsible for much of the drug trade in the two countries. May 18 meetings between the lead ministers for each government seem to have yielded consensus to take a “fresh” approach to a set of challenges that have vexed both neighbors for decades. The U.S. is facing an epidemic of opioid overdose deaths fueled increasingly by drugs smuggled from Mexico, and Mexico is facing a new surge in violent homicides fueled by criminal groups, many involved in drug smuggling to the U.S.  The task ahead is to turn this broad agreement among government ministers into a coherent set of policies and protocols that—if implemented well—will produce improved results against the drug cartels, their production, distribution, financing and arms networks, and the violence which they generate (especially in Mexico), along with improved programs aimed at addressing U.S. demand for drugs. These are big tasks, but the agreement on the analysis of the problem and on a vision for cooperation between the foreign and homeland security cabinet members from both countries is an encouraging step ahead for these two key North American neighbors.

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Amid opposition, Trump makes low budget request for Mexico border wall

5/23/2017 Reuters

Border fence by couchlearnerPresident Donald Trump is asking Congress for $1.6 billion to begin building a wall along the border with Mexico, far short of the amount needed for a project sharply criticized by Democrats and even some conservative Republicans.

An internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plan in February estimated the total cost for the wall at $21.6 billion but the White House’s budget proposal for 2018, details of which were released on Monday, included a request for just $1.6 billion.

Two Republican aides in Congress said the modest request is an acknowledgement from the White House that full funding is not realistic given opposition from Freedom Caucus conservatives in the House of Representatives as well as Democrats in the House and the Senate.

They said that unless Trump is able to rally broader support and win more funding for construction in another fiscal year, his plans for a “big beautiful wall” that he promised during his election campaign last year may not be realized.

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Charges Shed Light on Sea Cucumber Smuggling at US Border

5/20/2017 New York Times

san-ysidro-border-crossing-by-flickr-user-otzbergSAN DIEGO — Charges against a father-son partnership for allegedly smuggling more than $17 million worth of sea cucumbers to the United States and exporting them to Asia sheds light on a growing and lucrative illegal cross-border trade.

David Mayorquin and his father, Ramon Torres Mayorquin, are accused of a scheme to buy the illegally harvested animals from poachers in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, pay for them under fake names and underestimate their weight and value to inspectors at San Diego’s Otay Mesa border crossing, across from Tijuana, Mexico. From San Diego, they allegedly shipped the product to Asia, including China, where they are delicacies in Chinese dishes, prized for medicinal value and considered an aphrodisiac.

Border inspectors have spotted smuggled Mexican sea cucumbers for years, but the charges against the Mayorquins and their family business, Blessings Inc. of Tucson, Arizona, are striking for the multi-ton shipments. Authorities say they sell for $300 to $500 a kilogram in Asia, helping explain the draw for poachers and smugglers.

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Fourth Annual “Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border” Conference

A truck of the Mexican company Olympics bearing Mexican and U.S. flags approaches the border crossing into the U.S., in LaredoWHEN: Wednesday, June 14, 2017

WHERE: 6th Floor Auditorium, Wilson Center

Click to RSVP.

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the Border Trade Alliance are pleased to invite you to our fourth annual high-level “Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border” conference, which will focus on improving border management in order to strengthen the competitiveness of both the United States and Mexico. Specific emphasis will be put on a cooperative bilateral framework, border and transportation infrastructure, binational economic development, and the need for efforts that simultaneously support security and efficiency in border management.

      

Confirmed Speakers*

Governor Doug Ducey, Governor of the State of Arizona

Senator John Cornyn, Texas Majority Whip and Charmain, Subcomittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness

Commissioner (Acting) Kevin McAleenan, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Congressman Henry Cuellar, (TX- 28)

Alan Bersin, Global Fellow, Wilson Center & Former Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Russell Jones, Chairman, Border Trade Alliance

Michael C. Camuñez, President & CEO, ManattJones Global Strategies & Former Assistant Secretary of Commerce, International Trade Administration

Carlos Marin, CEO, Ambiotec Group, Board Member, United Brownsville

Christopher Wilson, Deputy Director, Mexico Institute

Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute

* A detailed agenda and additional speakers will be added 

Click to RSVP

  Thanks to Our Partners 

 


  

 

Border Agency Says It Has Picked Finalists to Design Wall

5/12/2017 Associated Press

Border - MexicoThe federal government said Friday that it has settled on finalists to design President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico, but it won’t identify them.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it will notify finalists over the next several days. It won’t say how many there are, but it has said previously that it would pick up to 20 for contracts expected to be valued between $200,000 and $500,000.

An agency document released last month by Senate Democrats says authorities plan to select winners by June 14 to build prototypes in San Diego on a short stretch of land near the Otay Mesa border crossing with Mexico. It picked San Diego partly because the land is federally owned and to compare the prototypes to existing fencing nearby that was breached 800 times in a single year.

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US Reports Another Drop in Arrests at Mexico Border

5/9/2017 New York Times

Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrestWASHINGTON — Arrests of people caught trying to enter the United States from Mexico without authorization declined again last month, a likely sign that fewer would-be immigrants are trying to cross the border illegally.

President Donald Trump has highlighted the falling numbers as a sign that his tough approach on immigration is working. Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and more aggressive enforcement of immigration laws may be discouraging people from crossing illegally.

The Homeland Security Department reported border patrol arrests fell to 11,129 in April, compared with 12,196 in March. That’s the lowest level in more than 17 years.

Arrests at the border plummeted soon after Trump took office. The relatively modest difference between the March and April figures suggest that the decreases may be leveling off.

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