Statement on the Obama-Calderon Talks - The U.S. Border Strategy is Working

President Felipe Calderon of Mexico will visit Washington this Thursday to meet with President Obama.  I issued the following statement about one item sure to be on their agenda:

"Among the topics the two Presidents will be discussing this week is certain to be the substantial progress the United States and Mexico have made in improving the border region common to both countries.

While there is still work to be done on both sides of the border, the unprecedented joint US-Mexican strategy towards improving the region has made clear, demonstrable progress in recent years.  Government investment for improved security along the US side of the border has vastly increased, the number of border agents has tripled over the past 13 years, technology has been improved, cooperation between the federal  and local governments with local law enforcement officials are at unprecedented levels.

The results speak for themselves – crime along the border is down, deportations of criminal aliens has increased, the flow of unauthorized immigrants has dropped as has the domestic population of undocumented immigrants in the United States.   There has been little to no spillover from the gang-related violence in Mexico into the United States, and seizures of narcotics into the country and bulk cash leaving the country have increased.

As a result of this new and deeper partnership between our countries the American side of our common border is clearly safer today. 

Last year when President Calderon visited the United States, he and President Obama signed a letter of understanding laying out the goal to create a “21st Century Border” between our countries.  Its vision was for a vibrant and dynamic region, well managed through unprecedented cooperation between both countries, where legal trade could grow, people and goods could cross without incident, where local economies could boom, and where clear problems would be addressed and improved.  Today, Mexico and the United States currently facilitate daily crossings of more than 2.3 million people and 300 thousand vehicles through 54 different border crossings along a 1,969 mile long border.  Mexico is now the United State’s third largest trading partner, with nearly half a trillion dollars worth trade flowing between our countries each year. With all that is going right between our countries, new and unprecedented levels of bi-lateral cooperation, and real, demonstrable improvement along the border, we are much closer to that realizing this vision of a "21st century border" than many observers and commentators in the United States understand.

For those who want to see even more progress on both sides of the border in the days ahead, there is more to do.  To help Mexico better combat the drug cartels, America - particularly the states of Arizona and Texas - must do more to significantly slow the southbound flow of illegal US weapons and bulk cask into Mexico. America must take greater responsibility for its very real contribution to the explosion of drug related violence and organized crime activity fueled by our domestic appetite for illegal drugs. Tragically, the gains which have been made, and the opportunity to make even further improvements, are now being threated by deep cuts in border security proposed by the new Republican majority in Washington.   

While there are great challenges facing our two countries, I hope we can use this visit by President Calderon to celebrate what is in many ways today the strongest working relationship the United States has ever had with Mexico.  There are few relationships in the world as important to the United States as our relationship with our Mexican neighbor.  May the two Presidents do even more this week to deepen, strengthen and improve this vital 21st century partnership."

For more on the progerss being made along the border be sure to check out this recent NDN/NPI Report on and this important speech by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on January 31st in El Paso, Texas.