Commissioner praises progress on U.S. – Mexico border management issues

06/28/2016 U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Gil_Kerlikowske_official_portrait_smallCBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske declared that the U.S. and Mexico have made “great strides in strengthening our partnerships” to improve border management during remarks at a forum hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars on June 15.

During an on-stage interview and Q&A session at the Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border conference, Commissioner Kerlikowske said, “I was here a year ago and since then we’ve made much progress” building strong U.S.-Mexico economic ties and law enforcement relationships.

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Confronting Death in Mexico City

5/12/16 Time

Mexico City - nunavut (Flickr)In a city with close to 22 million people, where concrete has taken over, how do you handle your dead? It’s that question that drove photographer Sebastien van Malleghen to Mexico City earlier this year.

“Around 450 people die every single day in Mexico City,” says the Belgian photographer best known for his in-depth forays into the penitentiary andlaw enforcement worlds. “The cemeteries are just enormous, and I wanted to show what happens between the moment we die and the moment our bodies are buried in a megalopolis like Mexico City.”

The result is a series of raw and unflinching images that show not just death but also life—the life of the people who work in the shadow, preparing bodies for their final repose. “Their job is to clean the corpses, fix the muscles, remove the fat, erase all of these stigmas and then to apply make-up and dress them up,” says van Malleghen. “It’s very mechanic. [After a while] the corpses become simple objects to them.”

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Homeland Security blacked out recommendation on Border Patrol restraint

shutterstock_24590917Washington Post, 1/28/14

It’s one of the U.S. Border Patrol’s most controversial practices: shooting at migrants and suspected drug runners who throw rocks and other objects at agents. Many law enforcement experts say the best option is to take cover or move elsewhere, rather than use lethal force. A law enforcement think tank — hired last year by parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review the Border Patrol’s practices — recommended restraint when agents encounter rock throwers who don’t pose an imminent threat of serious injury or death.

But when the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report in September on the Border Patrol’s use of force, officials blacked out that call for holding back in such incidents, among other recommendations, according to an uncensored copy reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Mexico’s Federal Police Reorganized into 5 Regional Commands

Policia MexicoThe Latin American Herald Tribune, 10/31/2013

The overhaul of the Federal Police has started, with the law enforcement agency being reorganized into five regional operations commands to fight crime more effectively in Mexico, the National Security Commission said.

The federal law enforcement agency will have northwestern, northeastern, central, western and southeastern commands, National Security Commissioner Manuel Mondragon said.

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Report: Focused Deterrence, Selective Targeting, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Concepts and Practicalities

crime and drugsBy Vanda Felbab-Brown, International Drug Policy Consortium, February 2013

In “Focused Deterrence, Selective Targeting, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Concepts and Practicalities,” published by the International Drug Policy Consortium in February 2013, Vanda Felbab-Brown first outlines the logic and problems of zero-tolerance and undifferentiated targeting in law enforcement policies. Second, she lays out the key theoretical concepts of the law-enforcement strategies of focused-deterrence and selective targeting and reviews some of their applications, as in Operation Ceasefire in Boston in the 1990s and urban-policing operations in Rio de Janeiro during the 2000s decade. Third, she analyses the implementation challenges that selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies have encountered, particularly outside of the United States. And finally, she discusses some key dilemmas in designing selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies to fight crime.

Read the full report here…

Wilson Center Senior Associate, Eric L. Olson, on the current security situation in Central America.

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin America Program and Mexico Institute, 1/27/12

Eric Olson

Central America has become the most violent region in the world and many countries are facing enormous challenges of crime and public insecurity due to urban violence, street gangs, and organized crime engaged in international drug trafficking.

Latin America Program and Mexico Institute Senior Associate, Eric L. Olson, spent last week in three Central American countries and provides his analysis of the security situation there, including the role of the private sector, pervasive corruption in law enforcement, and the risks and benefits of vetted units.

I have just returned from a quick trip to Central America (El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Honduras) where I was attending a conference and held meeting with various government officials and independent experts on the issues of crime and violence in Central America.  Here are a few initial impressions from this trip.

Engaging the private sector in the public security debate:  The main reason for my trip was to participate in a roundtable discussion in Costa Rica with private sector representatives, government officials, and researchers on the issue of public security in the “Southern Triangle” of Central America – Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.  This is part of a several step process that will include roundtables in the “Northern Triangle” and Washington, DC.

Read the Eric Olson’s complete Central America report here.