Readout of DHS Meeting with Mexican Customs Officials
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials met with their counterparts from the Mexican Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) on Friday to outline joint initiatives to combat transnational crime, increase law enforcement collaboration and increase the secure flow of travel and trade along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Representing DHS were Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs Alan Bersin, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton, U.S. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar and other DHS officials; representing SHCP were Tax Administration Chief Alfredo Gutiérrez Ortíz-Mena, Administrator General of Customs Juan José Bravo Moisés, the Customs Administrator General for Planning Pablo González Manterola and other Mexican officials.
During the meeting, U.S. and Mexican officials agreed to formalize Bi-national Port Security Committee to improve open and regular communication along the Southwest border—a significant step toward deterring violence at and near land ports of entry. These committees will address cross-border operational, safety and security issues.
Officials also agreed to build on DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s efforts to promote smart and effective security at the Southwest border by increasing coordinated investigative efforts, committing more resources for additional inspection teams at ports of entry along the border, and implementing comprehensive plans to strengthen security and ensure the secure flow of trade during events that affect port operations.
Since March, Secretary Napolitano has doubled the number of DHS agents working to identify and apprehend violent criminal aliens and bolstered southbound inspections to search for illegal weapons and cash at the Southwest border—adding additional law enforcement, mobile X-ray machines, license plate readers, and K-9 detection teams as part of a multi-layered, integrated border security strategy.
Thus far in 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and ICE have combined to seize nearly $35 million in southbound currency at the Southwest border—more than four times the amount seized during southbound operations compared to this point in 2008. Since January, CBP and ICE have also seized totals of 1,231 firearms, $92 million in cash and 1.4 million kilograms of drugs at the Southwest border—increases of 34 percent, 87 percent and 45 percent, respectively, over totals during the same period in 2008.
DHS continues to work closely with Mexico to ensure the safety and security of the U.S.-Mexico border by helping to train and equip Mexican law enforcement officers to ensure the secure flow of travel and trade while protecting both sides of the border from violence and criminal activity.
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