Immigration

A Look at the US-Mexico Border Region

Please join NDN and the New Policy Institute on Wednesday, November 16th for a lunchtime discussion about the challenges and opportunities leaders in the US-Mexico border region are facing today. Joining us will be a terrific set of elected officials and law enforcement officials, all from the region, including:

Congressman Silvestre Reyes of El Paso, Texas
Congressman Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Texas
Police Chief Adolfo Gonzales of National City, California
Police Chief Carlos R. Maldanado of Laredo, Texas
Sheriff Lupe Trevino, of Hidalgo County, Texas

With so much attention on border region issues now – smuggled guns and the Mexican cartels, immigration reform and overall border security – this timely event is sure to be informative and spirited.  

This event is the latest effort of our “21st Century Border Initiative,” which is working to advance a vision of a better managed border region.  For more on our work, including our recent events with DHS Secretary Napolitano, Mexican Ambassador Sarukhan, Governor Bill Richardson and many others, visit here.  See also our new You Tube site which features video of dozens of leaders from both sides of the Mexican border.  

Seating is limited, so please RSVP today to reserve your spot. Lunch will be served at noon, and the program will begin at 12:15pm.  All of this will take place at NDN’s offices on 729 15th Street, NW on the 1st floor.

Daily Border Bulletin: Holder takes the stand on Fast and Furious probe

Holder says, "Never again,"  on Fast and Furious tactics: Attorney General Eric Holder took the stand today at an oversight hearing for the Senate Judiciary Committee, while there he took the time to correct some of the misperceptions surrounding the program: “I would like to correct some of the inaccurate — and frankly some of the irresponsible — accusations surrounding Fast and Furious,” Holder said. “Some of the overheated rhetoric might lead you to believe that this local, Arizona-based operation was somehow the cause of the epidemic of gun violence in Mexico. In fact, Fast and Furious was a flawed response to, not the cause of, the flow of illegal guns from the United States into Mexico.”

He also took the time to note that the use of "gun walking" tactics would not be tolerated in his Justice Department:  "This operation was flawed in concept, as well as in execution," Mr. Holder told the committee. "Unfortunately, we will feel its effects for years to come as guns that were lost during this operation continue to show up at crime scenes both here and in Mexico. This should never have happened. And it must never happen again."

He later put a finer point on the subject by saying: "I want to be clear: Any instance of so-called 'gun walking' is unacceptable," Holder said of weapons smuggling, later adding: "This operation was flawed in its concept, and flawed in its execution."

He concluded his testimony by vowing to work with Republicans to stop the flow of guns from the U.S. into Mexican Cartel members hands: "I am determined to ensure that our shared concerns about Operation Fast and Furious lead to more than headline-grabbing Washington 'gotcha' games and cynical political point scoring,"

Event: Wed, Nov 16th – “A Look at the US-Mexico Border Region"

Please join NDN and the New Policy Institute on Wednesday, November 16th for a lunchtime discussion about the challenges and opportunities leaders in the US-Mexico border region are facing today. Joining us will be a terrific set of elected officials and law enforcement officials, all from the region, including:

Congressman Silvestre Reyes of El Paso, Texas
Congressman Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Texas
Police Chief Adolfo Gonzales of National City, California
Police Chief Carlos R. Maldanado of Laredo, Texas
Sheriff Lupe Trevino, of Hidalgo County, Texas

With so much attention on border region issues now – smuggled guns and the Mexican cartels, immigration reform and overall border security – this timely event is sure to be informative and spirited.  

This event is the latest effort of our “21st Century Border Initiative,” which is working to advance a vision of a better managed border region.  For more on our work, including our recent events with DHS Secretary Napolitano, Mexican Ambassador Sarukhan, Governor Bill Richardson and many others, visit here.  See also our new You Tube site which features video of dozens of leaders from both sides of the Mexican border.  

Seating is limited, so please RSVP today to reserve your spot. Lunch will be served at noon, and the program will begin at 12:15pm.  All of this will take place at NDN’s offices on 729 15th Street, NW on the 1st floor.

Daily Border Bulletin - State Attorney Generals defend ATF, A closer look at "gun walking," AZ economy helped by Mexico and more

Arizona and Utah Attorney Generals defend ATF:  Former Arizona Attorney Generals Terry Goddard and current Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff have written an Op-Ed defending the ATF's efforts to stop the flow of  American guns into Mexico: "The focus should be on the real public safety problem underlying this controversy: keeping arms from the Mexican drug cartels and protecting the security of the United States. However, many of the roadblocks faced by ATF and the Department of Justice are not being built by international criminals, but by Congress."

New York Times editorial explores the Fast Furious - Operation Wide Receiver connection: This Sunday opinion piece examines how "Gun Walking" on the U.S.- Mexico border is a symptom of a much larger problem which is lax American gun laws which allow cartel members to easily buy guns: "Mr. Breuer said in the past five years, 94,000 weapons have been recovered in Mexico and 64,000 were traced to American sources. “We need more tools,” he said. To which Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, predictably responded, “The answer isn’t to clamp down on law abiding-citizens or gun dealers.” There is no problem with law-abiding citizens. It’s Congress’s failure to ban sales of assault weapons that is feeding the drug wars."

Arizona benefits from Mexico's strong economy in trade: An analysis of the trade relationship between Mexico and Arizona reveals an important economic driver for the states weak economy. "Mexico accounted for more than a third of the state's international trade in the first half of 2011, when Arizona's total export sales jumped $1.2 billion, to $8.9 billion. It was the highest year-to-date increase in at least five years, the data from the International Trade Administration show. The bump in exports follows 10 years in which Arizona had the fourth-slowest growth rate among states in international trade, according to the administration's data."

Immigration at the heart of recall election for SB1070 architect:  Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce's recall will come to a head tomorrow, as voters will cast their ballots in this hotly contested election.  "The effort to oust Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce has transformed a normally quiet legislative district in a Phoenix suburb into a closely watched battleground on immigration that also features issues such as school funding cuts and state mandates on local governments.  People on both sides of the debate believe that removing Pearce would send a powerful message to the Legislature that uncompromising stands on immigration and other issues will not be tolerated by voters. On the flip side, a Pearce victory will say a tough stance on illegal immigration is just what voters demand."

21st Century Border Video Spotlight: Ken Miyagishima, Mayor, Las Cruces, New Mexico

This year NDN was fortunate enough to participate in a Border Security Conference In El Paso, TX, while there we sat down with members of the border community for a series of video interviews.

Ken Miyagishima is the Mayor of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He has lived along the border for over 20 years. He is passionate about growing commerce in Las Cruces, as you will see below, he believes passionately that one of the key ways of doing so is by increasing commerce with Mexico.

Mayor Miyagishima on the importance of Mexico to Las Cruces economy

Mayor Miyagishima on the safety of the border

Mayor Miyagishima on economic growth along the border

Mayor Miyagishima on how Mexican business helps Las Cruces

Daily Border Bulletin- 2007 Memo shines light on Bush era "gunwalking," immigration rot in AL, Mexico urges migrants home

2007 Memo on Gunwalking: A recently recovered inter-office memorandum has revealed new information about Bush era failed attempts at "gunwalking": "A briefing paper prepared for Attorney General Michael Mukasey during the Bush administration in 2007 outlined failed attempts by federal agents to track illicitly purchased guns across the border into Mexico and stressed the need for U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials to work together on such efforts using a tactic that now is generating controversy"

Crops rot on vine in Alabama:  In Washington Post editorial, the consequences of Alabama's immigration law come into sharp focus as farmers have begun to complain about the lack of workers to pick their crops:  " Farmers in Alabama are in revolt against the state’s over-the-top immigration law, which is designed to hound illegal immigrants so that they move elsewhere. As it happens, a substantial portion of farm workers there, as in other states, are undocumented. In the farmers’ view, the law is depriving them of steady, experienced labor — and threatening to deal a lethal blow to crops throughout the state."

Amid record deportations Mexico urges migrants home:  In Nogales Mexico, the Mexican government has begun to pay for buses to take migrants hoping to cross into the United States illegally home. "At one migrant shelter in Nogales, workers encourage deportees to return home rather than attempt to cross into the US illegally again, through the treacherous desert that spans both sides of the border. “There’s a federal program that will pay for your bus ticket so you can get back home,” Valente Camacho Terraza tells a group of migrants arriving at the center, which functions both as a shelter and transportation company."

Making the Case for the 21st Century Border Initiative at the University of Richmond

NDN was fortunate enough to be invited to talk at the University of Richmond Spanish in the Community program about our 21st Century Border Initiative Program.

The interdisciplinary program is designed to allow students to engage in "Lectures presented by influential business, media, political, and government leaders—many of whom are active in the local Spanish-speaking community—bring the emphasis to comprehension and production through immersion in context."

NDN was pleased to present and foster a dialogue and debate about the southwest border region and immigration reform. The presentation was intended to educated the students about the very real progress made in creating a safer and more economically dynamic region and what that means for future movement on comprehensive immigration reform:

Regarding border safety, the presentation highlighted the fact that overall violence along the Southwest Border has been in decline for some time and that overall the region is quite safe:

The FBI report on Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime shows that nationally, including border states, all four categories of violent crime declined overall compared to 2008:robbery, 8.1 percent; murder, 7.2 percent; aggravated assault, 4.2 percent; and forcible rape, 3.1 percent. Violent crime declined 4.0 percent in metropolitan counties. The same report shows that in Texas, violent crime rates declined,by 3.5 percent to 123,668 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2009.  From 2009 to 2010 in the 4 Texas border states, El Paso, Laredo, Brownsville and McAllen all saw drops in violent crime. By contrast Dayton, Ohio part of Speaker of the House John Boehner’s is far more violent.

Regarding our important economic relationship with Mexico, the presentation highlighted the tight economic bond between the our countries:

Mexico and the United States trade more than $1 billion worth of goods each day ($393 billion in 2010). Mexico spent $163 billion on U.S. goods in 2010, including $14 billion on agricultural products. NAFTA-related trade with Mexico has added 1.7 million jobs to the U.S. economy. Twenty-six U.S. states had exports to Mexico in excess of $1 billion in 2010.

Fast and Furious: Informant: ATF "gun walking" went on for years

NDN has written extensively on the the Fast and Furious program, for those of you who are looking for more information about this topic, the CBS Early Show video below provides great context for those just tuning in.

Daily Border Bulletin: Justice Department weighs in on Fast and Furious, in Arizona a big bust and hackers fight cartels

Justice Department weighs in on FF: A Senior Justice Department official awknowledged, "that the controversial “gun-walking” tactics were used in a gun-trafficking operation carried out five years ago during the Bush administration, but did not take aggressive steps to ensure that such techniques were not repeated in other federal investigations"

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer who heads the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, awknowledged that they should have stopped the practice during the Bush administration:  

“Knowing what I now know was a pattern of unacceptable and misguided tactics used by the ATF, I regret that I did not alert others within the leadership of the Department of Justice to the tactics used in Operation Wide Receiver when they first came to my attention.”

CBS's Early Show, has a great video on "gun walking" during the Bush adminstration, as well as the history of the gun smuggling along the southwest border.

Drug Smuggling Ring Busted In Arizona:  "Law enforcement officials on Monday announced the breakup of a large drug-smuggling ring that used lookouts on hilltops in southern Arizona to move huge quantities of marijuana and other drugs across the Mexican border to users throughout the United States.

Over the last month and a half, federal, state and local officials have arrested 76 people, from organizational bosses to stash-house guards to those who transported the drugs in backpacks and in vehicles, the authorities said.

…Arizona officials estimated that the ring had been in operation for at least five years and had generated more than $2 billion in profits by smuggling more than three million pounds of marijuana, 20,000 pounds of cocaine and 10,000 pounds of heroin into the United States. "

Hackers Take on Cartel: "The hackers’ message, delivered via YouTube by a man wearing a red tie and a Guy Fawkes mask, was as bold and risky as anything produced by the Zetas, Mexico’s most ruthless crime syndicate. But this time, the Zetas were the target.  They had kidnapped a geek with backup — a respected member of the hackers collective known as Anonymous.

“You have made a great mistake by taking one of us,” said the video’s masked figure. “Release him.”  

Or else, the message said, the names of government officials, taxi drivers and journalists who worked with the Zetas would be published online. The goal, they said, was the arrest of these suspected collaborators, but was there a possibility they might be killed by a rival cartel? Yes, said self-identified members of Anonymous, acknowledging the danger."

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