Trump just might be giving us the opportunity to make NAFTA even stronger

6/7/2017 Dallas News

By Alan Bersin, Mexico Institute Global Fellow and Former Commissioner, U.S. CBP

Donald Trump’s campaign, when it turned to issues, focused on migration, borders and trade. Characteristic of populist crusades, it zeroed in on foreigners to explain this country’s purported loss of greatness. Mexico and Mexicans were targeted with particular venom: NAFTA was the worst trade deal ever, Mexican migrants were rapists and thugs, and only a big wall could ensure our border security. In office, the administration’s initial policy pronouncements tracked the rhetoric: NAFTA will be scrapped, undocumented migrants will be deported and the wall will be built.

Two months into governing, the new administration’s messages remain mixed, but talk has turned from abject negation of the North American Free Trade Agreement to likely renegotiation with a decidedly positive focus on competitiveness. The realities of the complex, symbiotic U.S.-Mexican relationship have begun to assert themselves: We don’t trade with one another so much as make things together, and both countries protect themselves through shared perimeter security systems that won’t work absent trust and confidence between officials on both sides of the border.

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U.S. and Mexican border mayors meet in San Diego

UT San Diego, 8/24/12

A group of border mayors who met in San Diego on Friday called for nontraditional financing, including public-private partnerships, to build badly needed border crossings in the face of limited federal funding…

“I think we’re seeing the border mayors begin to consolidate themselves as an organization,” said Andrew Selee, vice president for programs of the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., and a senior advisor to its Mexico Institute. “They seem to be gaining strength, which is a positive sign.”

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Join Us Monday July 16th for an Event on How to Build a 21st Century Border

To RSVP click here.

We cordially invite you to a discussion on developing efficient and secure border management strategies. As one of the architects of the 21st Century Border initiative, Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, will deliver a keynote address. Our panel will then seek to identify the key challenges and opportunities regarding both the security and economic dimensions of border management.

For more info visit our event page here.

Can’t make it to the event? Watch the Live webcast here.

Customs And Border Commissioner Alan Bersin Resigns

Huffington Post, 12/21/11

Time’s up for the head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who announced Thursday he is stepping down at the end of the year when his recess appointment expires.

Alan Bersin served as the administration’s Southwest “border czar” on undocumented immigration and drug smuggling. President Obama nominated him to be CBP commissioner in September 2009, and appointed him commissioner in March 2010 after the Senate failed to confirm him.

“My service as Commissioner has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my public life,” Bersin said in a statement. “I am immensely proud of the significant and meaningful achievements we have made on our borders and at our nation’s ports of entry over nearly two years.”

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Myths and Realities of U.S.-Mexico Border Spillover Effects

Shannon K. O’Neill, Latin America’s Moment, Council on Foreign Relations blog, 8/24/11

The U.S. debates over Mexico’s drug war increasingly focus on spillover violence. Border state governors Rick Perry and Jan Brewer insist that Mexican cartels are hitting their states hard, portraying the border as a lawless “war zone” in which the drug cartels and illegal Mexicans incite “terror and mayhem” on a daily basis. In stark contrast, Customs and Border Protection (CPB) Commissioner Alan Bersin and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano contend that the border has never been safer.

The statistics bear out the latter position. A recent study based on FBI figures shows that violent crime in cities within 50 miles of the border is consistently lower than state and national averages. The robbery rate in the Texas border region, for example, remained at least 30 percent lower than the state average for every year in the past decade. The data also show that the number of kidnapping cases in border areas dropped by more than half since 2009.  This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen – they do. But they happen less frequently along the border, on average, than in other parts of the United States. Despite local politicians’ concerns and rhetoric, the border is more secure than in the past, and in fact safer than the rest of the country.

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The Border is Safe, Federal Officials Say

The Texas Tribune, 8/17/11

Alan Bersin

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.

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Former ‘border czar’ Alan Bersin assures Mexico will succeed in drug war

El Paso Times, 1/5/2011

It is impossible to know when the drug cartel war in Mexico will end, but Alan Bersin, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, assured El Pasoans on Wednesday that Mexico will win and survive.

Bersin spent the day in El Paso as part of his tour of the U.S.-Mexico border. While in this city, he met with city officials, community leaders and law enforcement officials. He also toured the pedestrian lanes at the Paso Del Norte Bridge.

Bersin said he could not say when the drug cartel violence in Mexico will end.

“It’s going to take a long time to win this struggle,” he said. “I have great confidence that Mexico will succeed.”

The drug cartel war in Mexico has been raging for three years now. Juarez, where more than 3,000 people were killed last year, continues to be the center of that brutal battle.

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