UPDATED 5:45 PM PT – Friday, October 8, 2021
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the Mexican government to discuss the development of a new bilateral security framework for security, public health and safe communities to address multiple issues the previous initiative failed to do.
Blinken and fellow U.S. officials traveled to Mexico City Friday morning to discuss plans for the new security framework with Mexican leadership. In efforts to move past the 13-year-old Merida Initiative, which focused on fighting against drug trafficking, cartels and violence on both sides of the border. The two nations are working to shift the focus to create a more equal partnership with shared responsibilities.
“It’s time for a comprehensive new approach to our security cooperation. One that will see us as equal partners in defining our shared priorities, tackle the root drivers of these challenges like inequity, like corruption, and focus, not only on strengthening law enforcement but also public health, the rule of law, inclusive economic opportunities,” said Blinken.
The high-level security discussion is a result of both the U.S. and Mexico dealing with a surge of Haitian migrants at their shared border in Texas. Both sides agreed they need to prioritize preventing smuggling, trafficking and crime in order to protect people in both countries.
Although the multi-million dollar Merida Initiative developed under the Obama administration sought to combat these issues, violence and homicide rates in Mexico have only increased in recent years. Blinken emphasized the need to strengthen border and port security in order to dismantle systems that sustain crime and lead to public health issues like addiction and drug trade, which have impacted both the American and Mexican people.
Through the High-Level Security Dialogue we are unlocking the full potential of our partnership. As demonstrated today, both the United States and Mexico are committed to cooperating to best protect our citizens, prevent transborder crime, and pursue criminal networks. pic.twitter.com/K4EiRJK5IZ
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) October 8, 2021
“We know that drug trafficking and other transnational crime aren’t just flowing south to north,” explained Blinken. “This is a cycle that continues because of activity on both sides of the border, and the United States will do our part to try to end the cycle.”
Mexican officials have continued to press the U.S. to assist in stopping illegal firearms from pouring into their country from the U.S., which continues to fuel Mexico’s crime violence in a way the Lopez Obrador government can’t handle.
Border and immigration policies were a key topic during the discussion and after, Joe Biden canceled the “Migrant Protection Protocols” policy developed during the Trump-era. Thereafter, the Supreme Court ruled that it be implemented again in efforts to protect the border.
As the U.S. continues to face security concerns on the southern border, the Department of Homeland Security is working to secure the borders and enforce immigration laws in order to increase safety and security with the U.S.
“Too many people continue to suffer, especially those in our society who are the most vulnerable. They are still suffering and thus in the days ahead and with this new vision for security guiding us, we will focus more intensely than before on the root and the core of the forces that threaten us,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
In the meantime, both governments have insisted their security agencies will work closely on a daily basis to further develop the security framework and maintain an improved bilateral relationship.