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The Third Meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Security Coordination Group

Yesterday, I co-chaired the third meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Security Coordination Group (SCG), along with Director General Eugenio Imaz of Mexico’s Center for Investigation and National Security. We were joined by officials from both countries across the security agencies and it was a pleasure for me to host this meeting with our Mexican colleagues.

The SCG is the primary forum for our senior policy makers to work with their Mexican counterparts and devise strategies to combat the security threats we both face. This meeting gave us an opportunity to share details about security threats in an open and honest manner and to jointly identify strategic priorities such as continuing the fight against organized crime, enhancing counter-narcotics efforts, jointly managing our 2,000-mile shared border, and coordinating to confront new threats from Cybercriminals. The threat from organized crime knows no borders, and President Peña Nieto is committed to implementing a comprehensive security strategy to greatly enhance Mexico’s capacities, and we are partners.

At this year’s meeting of the SCG, we addressed key issues such as: 

  • Joint efforts to disrupt the human smuggling networks that exploit and endanger vulnerable migrants, including unaccompanied children, as they move them from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Cooperatively working with Central American governments to address the insecurity and lack of economic opportunity that drives the flow of migrants through Mexico to the U.S.
  • Counter-narcotics efforts, including increased U.S. commitment to demand reduction and a review of trends in heroin production and efforts to address this growing threat to both countries
  • The group also agreed to set up a bilateral Cybersecurity working group to share best practices on how to combat new threats to each nations information infrastructure
  • In addition the Mexican delegation provided a detailed briefing on Mexico’s ten point strategy for public safety, which President Obama pledged to support during the Mexican President’s January visit
  • Progress on allocating Merida funds to build capacity and enhance Mexico’s security reforms, noting that over $500 million in assistance has now been allocated through this mechanism
  • Joint efforts to address the money laundering and weapons trafficking that fund and arm transnational criminal organizations

This very productive meeting reinforced the reality of the binational threat and the necessity of bilateral security cooperation.

Rand Beers is Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.