U.S. Says Mexican Drug Lord El Chapo Guzmán’s Prison Escape Could Trigger More Border Violence

9/16/2015 Forbes 

19437624579_88eab701c8_bTestifying before Congress  last week, Robert Harris, the man in charge of border security at the Department of Homeland Security, warned that the recent escape of Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, “could potentially instigate further border violence similar to incidents following his first prison escape in 2001.”

On July 11, Guzmán, one of the world’s most famous and powerful drug criminals, fled an alleged maximum-security prison near Mexico City through a tunnel built under his cell. Four middle to low-level officials have been arrested in connection to his escape.

Read more…

Officials testify on border security in Mexico

9/9/2015  El Paso Times 

fence at borderA congressional hearing Wednesday on border safety branched out into a broader discussion about insecurity in Mexico, with one U.S. representative calling to close down all the U.S. consulates in Mexico and a border official asking for 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents.

“We should close down every one of those (nine) consulates, and put the properties up for sale,” said U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. “There has to be consequences the place (Mexico) is out of control.”

Brandon Judd, a Border Patrol agent and president of the National Border Patrol Council, testified that based on feedback from other agents, the agency charged with guarding the border has operational control of only 40 percent of the border.

Read more…

SMU Tower Center launches unique research program for policy-based analysis of Texas-Mexico relationship

9/8/2015 Southern Methodist University

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies is launching an ambitious new program to research and promote policy-based discussion on the economic, political and social ties between Mexico and Texas.

The program is made possible through a $1 million gift from GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation with global reach headquartered in Dallas.  The program is designed to elevate the frequently fractured conversations about and between Texas and Mexico, creating a platform that examines shared issues through a policy lens. Plans include:

  • Texas-Mexico research, grants, reports, and white papers
  • Binational and bilingual annual conferences
  • Academic seminars and public forums

“Economics, energy, migration, culture, human capital, internet technology and cyber security are obvious topics for study, but the door is open,” said Juan Antonio González Moreno, Chairman and CEO of GRUMA. “We found in this program a tremendous opportunity to build a foundation for what should become the primary think tank on Texas-Mexico relations.” The list of potential topics is open to almost anything that impacts the relationship between Texas and Mexico.

Need for safe border common ground, Abbott says during Mexico visit

9/7/2015 Dallas News 

IMG_4475MEXICO CITY — Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that the most “pleasant and biggest surprise” during his three-day visit with high-ranking Mexican officials was hearing their willingness to help Texas secure the border.

In a brief interview with Texas reporters, Abbott said he’s been impressed with how, “behind closed doors, Mexico has shown great support for securing the border.”

“In all my talks with all Mexican officials, no one has said anything negative about what Texas has done on the border,” Abbott said. “To the contrary, they have talked about ways in which they can better secure the border and better collaborate with Texas.”

Abbott’s meeting with Mexican president stresses the positive as trip wraps up

8/9/2015 Dallas News 

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters
Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

MEXICO CITY — President Enrique Peña Nieto welcomed Gov. Greg Abbott to the presidential mansion Tuesday and vowed to work with Texas to improve border security and generate more jobs through the energy sector, but he also reminded his guest of the contributions made by Mexicans in the Lone Star State.

The two men exchanged pleasantries and gifts — a jersey from Mexico’s national soccer team for Abbott, a crystal vase with the Texas seal for Peña Nieto. Abbott also invited the president to visit Texas in the coming months. But beyond the warm welcome, prickly issues — largely avoided through a carefully controlled agenda during the three-day visit — didn’t disappear completely.

Read more…

Plummeting Peso Hurting Border Economy

9/2/15 The Texas Tribune

border2Clothing store owner Les Norton remembers when throngs of Mexican shoppers would make their way up Laredo’s Convent Avenue and stay in Texas for hours before returning to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

But Norton, president of the Laredo Merchants’ Association, has seen business at his La Fama clothing store drop off in recent months due, in part, to the depreciation of the Mexican peso.

On Tuesday, about 17 Mexican pesos equalled one U.S. dollar, up from about 13 in September 2014. For people like Norton, who estimates that 70 to 80 percent of his clientele is from Mexico, that means the fall and winter shopping seasons will be unpredictable at best.

“Unfortunately downtown Laredo is experiencing a decline that nobody’s happy with,” Norton said.

Read more…

Want To Reduce Illegal Immigration? End The Drug War.

8/29/15 Huffington Post

DEA badgeSeveral GOP presidential hopefuls have over the last few weeks offered wildly extreme and generally unrealistic proposals for deterring illegal immigration — largely spurred by Donald Trump’s grandiose plan to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, then let a few of the “good ones” back in, all while building a giant, possibly self-branded border wall. Other ideas Republican primary candidates have pondered lately include eliminating birthright citizenship, which is guaranteed by the 14th amendment to the Constitution, because some argue that it acts as a magnet for undocumented immigrants.

While these ideas might energize the GOP’s conservative base, they wouldn’t do much to deter illegal immigration, for one simple reason: All of these propositions rest on the false assumption that most undocumented immigrants are crossing into the U.S. primarily to look for a better life and a higher-paying job.

Read more…