United States and Mexico Commit to Combat Border Violence and Improve Public Safety

For Immediate ReleaseOffice of the Press SecretaryContact: 202-282-8010March 3, 2006   Action Plan Between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Secretariat of Governance of the United Mexican States   Brownsville, Texas - In accordance with the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the Secretary of Governance of Mexico, Carlos Abascal, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff met in Brownsville, Texas, to sign an Action Plan to combat border violence and improve public safety.  The commitment between the two nations will strengthen procedures between federal law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border to respond to different scenarios ranging from accidental crossings to incidents of violence, or other situations that present risks to those who live, work, or travel at our common border.   “Criminal networks operating at the border are increasingly emboldened and represent alarming risks to our security and public safety.  Their lawlessness is intolerable, and together we will confront them with the full force of the law,” said Secretary Chertoff.  “We are pledging swift and aggressive action to combat violent criminal activity at the border, and we'll continue to share critical information to target and dismantle these dangerous criminal networks.”   “Being good neighbors starts at the border. With these agreements on border security and public safety we strengthen our bridges of understanding and cooperation.” said Secretary Abascal. “We are committed to protecting all persons who live, work or transit the border region against crime and violence, regardless of their migratory status. We sincerely appreciate the commitment of Secretary Chertoff and the Department of Homeland Security to work together in this direction. We are aware that facing violence and crime, there are no magic overnight solutions, but we are convinced that binational systematic efforts are the best we can do to have better results.”     To help prevent violent incidents, Secretary Abascal, Secretary Chertoff and Eduardo Medina-Mora, Mexican Secretary of Public Safety, have endorsed a multi-step plan for bi-national coordination during emergency situations.  The plan lays out a commitment to ensure immediate communications and information sharing between responsible authorities during emergency situations that may have cross border implications.  The Action Plan also lays the groundwork for ensuring coordinated investigations and detentions of persons believed to be involved in violent activity along the border.   In addition, both nations will continue to coordinate border security efforts such as patrolling the border region, conducting regular exercises to ensure updated and consistent protocols andentifying common landmarks so that first responders can quickly arrive at the scene.   Aside from the Action Plan mentioned, DHS continues to partner with the Government of Mexico in information sharing and coordinated law enforcement efforts such as Operation Blackjack, to fight violent cross-border crime in Laredo, Texas, OASISS to reduce the increasing number of human smugglers operating along the southwest border and cooperative efforts to uncover cross-border tunnels along the U.S.-Mexico border in California and Arizona.   ###