‘Not the Mexico our Mother wants’: Pope Francis will visit some of Mexico’s most violent areas

pope-francis-707390_6402/8/2016 Business Insider

Pope Francis will visit some of the poorest and most violent corners of Mexico on his first visit as pontiff, and will also head to the northern border to address the plight of migrants trying to reach the US.

More than 100,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands more have disappeared during Mexico’s drug wars over the last decade.

While much of that violence has been perpetrated by drug cartels, military and police forces have been tied to abuses, as well.

Read more…

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

2/4/2016 Mexico Institute via Forbes.com

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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New Publication: Lessons from the Development of Binational and Civil Society Cooperation on Water Management at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Anatomy of a RelationshipBy Carlos de la Parra and Carlos Heredia

Mexico and the United States are partners in a number of agreements that imply joint management of natural resources and have had a long and productive history of sharing water resources. The two countries share water resources in the Colorado and Tijuana river basins, and in the Rio Grande basin; the joint utilization of their waters is defined by the Treaty of February 3, 1944 and its Minutes.

The authors argue that -since ecosystems do not respect national boundaries- binational cooperation on cross-border environmental issues is a must. Environmental issues must be seen as an integral part of border affairs and border management. Economic, security and environmental issues are all interrelated and must be addressed as such. Further, the authors believe that civil society activism and inter-governmental cooperation have played mutually reinforcing roles in improving the way that the two countries manage natural resources and moving towards a truly regional approach in a binational context.

The essay analyzes binational and civil society cooperation on cross-border environmental issues, with a special focus on water management. The piece looks at binational water management from a holistic perspective, arguing that the growing involvement of civil society has improved policy outcomes.

The above text is an excerpt from the introduction to the essay. This essay is part five of our seriesThe Anatomy of a Relationship: A Collection of Essays on the Evolution of U.S.-Mexico Cooperation on Border Management.” We are releasing the essays individually throughout 2015 and will publish them together in early 2016. 

Read the essay here.

Increased Enforcement at Mexico’s Southern Border

wolaAn Update on Security, Migration, and U.S. Assistance

New Report by the Washington Office on Latin America

In a report released today, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) reveals that, far from deterring migrants from making the journey north, the most notable effects of Mexico’s Southern Border Program have been a significant uptick in apprehensions and changes in where and how migrants are traveling. These changes expose migrants to new vulnerabilities, while isolating them from the network of shelters established along traditional routes.

From when it was announced in July 2014 to June 2015, Mexico’s stepped-up migration enforcement resulted in a 71 percent increase in apprehensions of Central American migrants and potential refugees, compared to the same period one year earlier. Based on research and visits during the last two years to Mexico’s southern border zone, WOLA researchers found that Mexico’s increased apprehension and rapid deportation of migrants has not been paired with a greater capacity to screen them for protection concerns, leading many to be deported back to dangerous situations in their home countries.

Read the report…

New Publication | Managing the Mexico-U.S. Border: Working for a More Integrated and Competitive North America

By Sergio Alcocer

Anatomy of a RelationshipThe border between Mexico and the United States is one of the most dynamic in the world. The United States and Mexican border states together represent the world’s 4th largest economy, see more than $500 billion dollars per year in bilateral trade, and house 56 crossing points where nearly 300,000 vehicle crossings take place on a daily basis.

Our countries have always had a complex and intertwined relationship and have established different and successful mechanisms to manage border matters. At present, the level of cooperation between Mexico and the United States on border issues is the highest testament of the maturity and strength of the bilateral relationship. Positive synergies are now in place, our common values and cultural ties are nowhere more visible than at our shared border, benefitting both societies.

This essay aims to offer a holistic approach and view of the border region. It focuses on the key aspects that comprise it, and also explains the mechanisms established by Mexico and the United States, describing the strong collaboration that has been accomplished by both countries.

The above text is an excerpt from the introduction to the essayThis essay is part two of our series “The Anatomy of a Relationship: A Collection of Essays on the Evolution of U.S.-Mexico Cooperation on Border Management.”

Read the essay here. 

EVENT TOMORROW | Innovation in Colonias on the Texas-Mexico Border: Building on Border Assets

man_w_social_media_0WHEN: TOMORROW, Tuesday, October 27, 9:00-11:00am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center

Click here to RSVP.

The Wilson Center’s Urban Sustainability Laboratory and Mexico Institute, along with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, are pleased to invite you to the event, Innovation in Colonias on the Texas-Mexico Border: Building on Border Assets.” While public discussion often focuses on the challenges facing low-income communities living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, the region’s assets can be leveraged to advance local economic development. A panel of experts will discuss opportunities to promote  development, entrepreneurship and job creation for the colonia populations living along the border. Panelists will discuss how policies for affordable housing, infrastructure, education, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and health can be integrated with efforts to build an inclusive economy and strong community networks and cooperation. On-the-ground innovation in the border region and in the colonias offers important new models for development in underserved communities.

A recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, “Las Colonias in the 21st Century: Progress Along the Texas-Mexico Border”, provides context for the discussion. Texas colonias, home to an estimated 500,000 people, represent one of the largest concentrations of poverty in the U.S. This report offers a comprehensive profile of Texas border colonias, assessing the opportunities, successes, and challenges facing these communities.

Click here to RSVP. 

NEW ESSAY | Homeland Security as a Theory of Action: The Impact on U.S./Mexico Border Management

By Alan D. Bersin and Michael Huston

Anatomy of a RelationshipThe terrorist attack on 9/11 in effect closed America’s borders.  The drawbridges were raised, airports and seaports shut down and cross-border traffic at land ports of entry was reduced to a trickle.  Defense and security and enforcement became the exclusive orders of the day.

The U.S. reaction generally and particularly on the Southwest Border was understandable, though it remained more instinctive than considered.  We had experienced a new vulnerability in our “homeland,” a concept that seemed foreign, strange and distant before 9/11.  Reflexively we retreated behind our borders and hunkered down behind the boundaries of Fortress America.

It soon became evident that the costs of “hunker down security,” i.e. the impact of closing the borders, would deliver an unacceptable, catastrophically self-defeating blow to our economy.  The events of 9/11, accordingly, initiated a wrenching turn in the way Americans viewed globalization and the manner in which their government understood and practiced internal security and external defense.  Policymakers were compelled to formulate new theories of action and respond to a dramatically altered threat environment.  Specifically, policy makers grappled with the challenge of how to secure the homeland in a world that was increasingly borderless.  The evolving policy and operational results may be the lasting legacy of September 11, 2001.

This paper examines these developments from the perspective of the relationship between Mexico and the United States and their shared management of a common border.  Although the emergence of a U.S. homeland security doctrine has significantly affected all trade and travel to and from the United States, it has had special importance for and a distinctive impact on U.S. – Mexico bilateral relations.

The above text is an excerpt from the introduction to the essay. This essay is part one of our series “The Anatomy of a Relationship: A Collection of Essays on the Evolution of U.S.-Mexico Cooperation on Border Management.” 

Read the essay.