Former Mexican President: We’re Not Paying for a ‘Stupid’ Wall

2/09/16 NBC News

Felipe Calderón


A former Mexican president had some tough words when asked about GOP candidate Donald Trump’s much-touted plan to build a border wall that he says will be paid for by Mexico.”We are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall! And it’s going to be completely useless,” said former Mexican president Felipe Calderón when asked about this at the AmCham Egypt for Business Conference on Sunday.

“We are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall! And it’s going to be completely useless,” said former Mexican president Felipe Calderón when asked about this at the AmCham Egypt for Business Conference on Sunday.

Calderón had harsh words about the Republican presidential race during his conversation with CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, saying it was “incredible” that quite an “admirable society” like the U.S. had candidates like Trump.

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The “bridge to nowhere” now connects the United States and Mexico

2/4/2016 Mexico Institute via

By Christopher Wilson and E. Anthony Wayne

On February 4, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and U.S. Secretaries of Homeland Security and Commerce are scheduled to inaugurate the new border crossing just south of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Once called the “bridge to nowhere” because the U.S. half was completed before the Mexican portion was built, the international bridge and port of entry facilities at Tornillo-Guadalupe will now help manage the massive legal flows of goods and people across our border.  Over $1 million dollars of trade per minute crosses our common border and an estimated 950,000 people legally cross the border each day to study, visit family members, do business and go shopping.

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Better Than a Wall: A New Detection System Can Help Monitor the U.S.-Mexico Border

1/30/2016 Popular Mechanics

Christopher Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute is quoted in this article. 

Border fence by couchlearnerAgent Jose Verdugo’s workplace is vast: 1,100 square miles of hilly, sandy terrain surrounding Nogales, Arizona, the second-largest border-patrol station in the country. Depending on the day’s assignment, he’ll hike trails or drive along the boundary between the United States and Mexico. Some days he investigates human trafficking or drug smuggling. (Half of the marijuana that crosses the southwest border is captured in the Tucson sector, where Nogales is situated.) Other days Verdugo investigates a suspicious blip on a radar system that often turns out to be foul weather, or a rancher tending his land, or a stray cow.

Over the years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has used a series of strategies, some more effective than others, to monitor huge swaths of rugged terrain along the border. It needed a solution that would prevent agents like Verdugo from being deployed for false alarms, so they could chase and investigate narcos rather than livestock and be prepared for what they encountered when they caught up. This would require permanent sensors that could provide a clear picture to agents back at the station of what was happening in the field. The Integrated Fixed Towers (IFT) system, which includes radar and day and night cameras mounted on a series of towers along the border, promises to solve the problem. The radar and cameras transmit data over microwave link to the Nogales station, where agents determine an appropriate course of action. The system, which enables agents to accurately monitor areas previously unobserved, is, Verdugo says, like “turning on a light switch” along the dark, mysterious border.

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Immigration at Center of Pope’s Visit to Mexico-US Border

1/27/2016 ABC News
border patrolBy

The young Salvadoran woman was robbed and forced to dodge kidnappers working for a drug cartel during her four-month odyssey to this border city of belching factories and swirling dust across the Rio Grande from Texas.

She hoped to be on the other side long before Pope Francis visits the region next month and delivers what promises to be a highly symbolic homily addressing immigration. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims will flock to the border to hear him speak, and America’s political class will likely be listening as well. Francis’ Feb. 17 Mass in Ciudad Juarez comes just eight days after the New Hampshire primaries, and three before contests in South Carolina and Nevada.

Immigration has been a hot-button campaign issue particularly among Republican hopefuls such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who have taken an increasingly hard line with Trump vowing to deport the more than 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally and Cruz aiming to end birthright citizenship for their U.S.-born children. It is also an issue close to Francis’ heart, and while analysts doubt he will wade too blatantly into the political thicket, his very presence along the border speaking on the issue will turn heads.

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El Paso plans for Pope Francis’ visit to U.S.-Mexico border

1/26/2016 CBSNEWS

pope-francis-707390_640EL PASO, Texas — Declaring it an “unparalleled high profile event,” the El Paso City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a set of plans for Pope Francis’ visit to neighboring Ciudad Juárez.

The pope is not scheduled to visit El Paso, but because of the proximity of his motorcade route and mass to the El Paso-Juárez border, the city of El Paso says it will restrict travel in downtown and South-Central El Paso, CBS affiliate KDBC reported.

Leaders say the pope’s visit to Juárez at the end of a five-day tour of Mexico will draw hundreds of thousands to both cities.

El Paso’s plans include closing a portion of a major border highway, several downtown neighborhoods and city government for the day. The city estimates this will cost nearly $1 million in city services, salaries and equipment. At least two El Paso school districts are also closing the day of the visit, scheduled for Feb. 17.

“This is such a positive thing for our community,” El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said. “I’ll tell everyone, El Paso is Juárez and Juárez is El Paso.”

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EVENT | Mexico Security Review 2016: Assessing the Outlook for the Rule of Law

security_lockWHEN: Thursday, January 21, 9:00am-1:00pm

WHERE: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor

Click to RSVP

Mexico faced major security challenges in 2015. Homicides ticked upward for the first time since 2011, and Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s escape from a maximum-security prison was a major embarrassment. An OAS-linked group of independent experts examined the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero and found major discrepancies with the official version. 2016 has started off with good news for the government with the recapture of “El Chapo,”  and this year is also the deadline for Mexico to complete the transition to an adversarial justice system.

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute is pleased to invite you to its third annual Mexican security review. The forum will provide a careful examination of Mexico’s security landscape in 2015 and 2016. What does the recapture of El Chapo mean for Mexico’s security in 2016? How will the Peña Nieto administration continue to build on his recapture, and what will the new justice system mean for fighting crime and criminal networks?

Please join us for presentations featuring leading Mexican and U.S. security analysts and researchers, and representatives from the Mexican government.


Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Panel I: Overview of 2015 and Trends in 2016

David Shirk
Professor, University of San Diego
Director, Justice in Mexico Project
Global Fellow, Wilson Center

Alejandro Hope
Editor, Security and Justice, El Daily Post

Viridiana Rios
Fellow, Wilson Center

Eric L. Olson
Associate Director, Latin American Program &
Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Panel II: Reforming the Criminal Justice System

Keynote: Mtro. Rommel Moreno Manjarrez
Head of the Special Department for the Implementation of the Adversarial Criminal Justice System,
Office of the Attorney General (PGR)

Layda Negrete
Coordinator, Quality of Justice Project, México Evalúa

Octavio Rodriguez
Program Coordinator, Justice in Mexico Project, University of San Diego

Matthew Ingram
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University at Albany, SUNY

Eric L. Olson
Associate Director, Latin American Program &
Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

There will be a live webcast available. 

Click to RSVP

Young returnees start over in Mexico after growing up in the U.S.

1/6/2016 PBS News Hour

Even before recent raids by the Department of Homeland Security, hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants have been deported annually. And those who grew up in the U.S. have found themselves living in what feels like a foreign country. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro talks to some young people who are starting over and feeling culture shock after having to leave the U.S.

Watch Here