NEW PUBLICATION: “Following the Money Trail” to Combat Terrorism, Crime, and Corruption in the Americas

Over the past decade, there has been a greater appreciation of how “following the money trail” directly contributes to the fight against terrorism, crime, and corruption around the world. Money serves as the oxygen for any activity, licit or illicit; it is the critical enabler for any organization, from international crime syndicates like the Mexican cartels to terrorist groups like the FARC, ISIS, and Hezbollah. Financial intelligence has helped governments to better understand, detect, disrupt, and counter criminal and terrorist networks and expose political corruption.

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States and its Latin American partners have strengthened their ability to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and consciously incorporated the financial instrument of national power into their national security strategies. “Following the money trail,” counterterrorism, and Drug Kingpin sanctions and asset forfeiture have become particularly important to attack narco-insurgencies, dismantle transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), and address political corruption scandals that have reached the highest levels of governments across Latin America.

This report focuses on the threats from money laundering and terrorist financing, distinguishing the two, and explains government efforts to counter illicit financing. It describes the ways illicit actors raise, move, store, and use money to pursue their dangerous agendas. Specific cases examining the FARC in Colombia, the 2015 fall of the Guatemalan government, and Brazil’s “Operation Car Wash” corruption scandal illustrate how governments use financial intelligence to pursue terrorists, criminals, corrupt politicians, and their financiers in Latin America. Finally, the report emphasizes the need to design, implement, and constantly update national and international strategies to combat the financing of emerging threats like terrorism, crime, and corruption and to safeguard our financial systems.

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After the Storm in U.S.-Mexico Relations

3/31/2017 The Wilson Quarterly

Articles by Duncan Wood, Christopher Wilson, Andrew Selee, Eric L. Olson, Earl Anthony Wayne & Arturo Sarukhan

The relationship between Mexico and the United States is facing its most severe test in decades. Although a new tone and new ideas are needed, the economic, political, and security fundamentals matter more than ever.

Browse the full Winter 2017 issue of Wilson Quarterly here…

Leveraging the U.S.-Mexico Relationship to Strengthen Our Economies, by Christopher Wilson

A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico, by Andrew Selee

The Merida Initiative and Shared Responsibility in U.S.-Mexico Security Relations, by Eric L. Olson

U.S.-Mexico Energy and Climate Collaboration, by Duncan Wood

Toward a North American Foreign Policy Footprint, by Earl Anthony Wayne & Arturo Sarukhan

 

New Publication | A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico

By Andrew Selee

migration-policy-coverToday, the number of Mexicans crossing the border illegally has dropped to a 40-year low, and there are almost certainly more Mexican immigrants leaving the United States than arriving. A majority of the immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are now Central Americans, and the U.S. and Mexican governments have been working closely to find ways to limit this flow and keep people from making the dangerous journey north. Perhaps most surprisingly, the number of Americans in Mexico has been growing rapidly, reaching somewhere around a million people, almost as large a group of U.S. citizens as live in all of the countries of the European Union combined.

The United States and Mexico each have interests in protecting their sovereignty and enforcing their immigration laws, but they will also need to work together to address Central American immigration, ensure robust growth in Mexico that keeps migration from starting up again, and protecting their own citizens living in the other country.

A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico,” was written by Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President of the Wilson Center and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute. In this policy brief, Selee reviews existing cooperation between the United States and Mexico on migration and provides policy recommendations for a more nuanced and balanced migration agenda.

This policy brief is the third of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.” The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017.

Read the policy brief…

NEW PUBLICATION | The Evolving Merida Initiative and the Policy of Shared Responsibility in U.S.-Mexico Security Relations

us-mx-security-cooperation-coverBy Eric Olson

The election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States opens a new era in U.S.-Mexico security cooperation. With the new Trump administration, the security relationship is likely to undergo further review and modification. Whether the framework of “shared responsibility” that has guided security cooperation between both nations will be deepened and strengthened, as it has been over the past decade, or is completely overhauled is still unclear.  This paper seeks to place the security relationship in its most recent historical context and reviews how the bilateral security cooperation framework has evolved and deepened beyond the original “Mérida Initiative” set out by Presidents George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.

The Evolving Merida Initiative and the Policy of Shared Responsibility in U.S.-Mexico Security Relations,” was written by Eric L. Olson, Associate Director of the Latin American Program and Senior Advisor on Security to the Mexico Institute. In the policy brief, the author provides a series of policy options for building on and improving the U.S.-Mexico security relationship.

This policy brief is the second of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.” The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017. 

Read the publication…

NEW PUBLICATION | Towards a North American Foreign Policy Footprint

By Earl Anthony Wayne and Arturo Sarukhan

north-american-lights-lightenedEvery electoral cycle in the United States or Mexico brings the opportunity to reevaluate the relationship and explore how both nations can improve upon the bilateral agenda given changes in the regional and global context. In the coming months, it is quite likely that crucial issues in the relationship may be revisited in profound ways. This presents both real risks and real opportunities. Even as the political climate changes, the on-the-ground benefits of regional collaboration for the security and economic well-being of the United States, Mexico, and all of North America continue to be immense.

Towards a North American Foreign Policy Footprint,” was written by Earl Anthony Wayne, Career Ambassador and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, and Arturo Sarukhan, Career Ambassador and former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. In the policy brief, the authors review existing cooperation and explore the potential for enhanced cooperation on international issues by Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

This policy brief is the first of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.”  The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017.

Read the publication here.

NEW PUBLICATION | Growing Together: How Trade with Mexico Impacts Employment in the United States

growing-together-employment-sectionBy Christopher Wilson

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The United States and Mexico trade over a half-trillion dollars in goods and services each year, which amounts to more than a million dollars in bilateral commerce every minute.  With such a large volume of trade, it is not hard to believe that the number of jobs that depend on the bilateral relationship is similarly impressive. New research by the Mexico Institute shows precisely that: nearly five million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico.

The study shows that if trade between the United States and Mexico were halted, 4.9 million Americans from across the country would be out of work.

This essay analyzes the employment impact of bilateral trade on the U.S. economy. Read the essay here.

Key Findings

  • Nearly five million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico… Our model shows that if trade between the United States and Mexico were halted, 4.9 million Americans would be out of work.
  • Many times, it is the availability of cost-efficient inputs that allows U.S. companies to stay competitive enough to fend off competitors from outside the region and to grow exports in the face of fierce global competition. In this way, not just exports but also imports from Mexico help support jobs in U.S. industry.
  • The auto industry, which is probably the single most integrated regional industry, is a perfect example of the benefits of trade integration. Without the availability of nearby Mexican plants to do the final assembly of light vehicles, it is quite possible that the vast U.S. parts producing network for these vehicles would migrate to someplace outside of the continent.
  • Misperception and scapegoating has certainly played a role in creating the current negative political environment around trade…but so has the very real failure of U.S. policymakers to adequately address the challenges facing middle-class Americans.

This essay is part of our project Growing Together: Economic Ties between the United States and Mexico, which explores the bilateral relationship in detail to understand its nature and its impact on the United States. Throughout the fall of 2016, the Mexico Institute will release the findings of our research on our website and social media, using the hashtag #USMXEcon.

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NEW PUBLICATION | Bilingual, Bicultural, Not Yet Binational: Undocumented Immigrant Youth in Mexico & the United States

jill-anderson-coverBy Jill Anderson

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An entire generation of children, adolescents and young adults has been caught in the crucible of increasing criminalization of immigrants coupled with neoliberal globalization policies in Mexico and the United States. These are first- and second-generation immigrant youth who are bicultural, often bilingual, but rarely recognized as binational citizens in either of their countries. Since 2005, an estimated two million Mexicans have returned to Mexico after having lived in the United States, including over 500,000 U.S.-born children. As of 2005, the population of Mexican-origin immigrant youth in the United States (first- and second-generation) reached an estimated 6.9 million. They have come of age in conditions of extreme vulnerability due to their undocumented status or the undocumented status of their parents.

The challenges that immigrant youth face in the aftermath of deportation and return are varied. Emotional distress, post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and alienation are commonly described as key factors during the first months to years of return. These young people have experienced family separation, a sense of alienation, and human rights violations during detention and deportation. Systemic and inter-personal discrimination against deportees and migrants among the non-migrant population in Mexico can make an already challenging situation more difficult. For some, an accent, a lack of language proficiency in Spanish, and/or tattoos make it difficult to “blend in,” find jobs, or continue their studies. In addition to emotional and socio-cultural stress, there are also facing systemic educational, employment and political barriers to local integration and stability.

This paper examines the phenomenon of binational immigrant youth and, in the interest of constructing a binational agenda that privileges the human security and socio-economic integration of immigrant youth in the United States and Mexico in the short- and long-term, proposes a list of binational public policy recommendations.

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