U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATEJoint Communiqué: U.S. -Mexico Migration Talks
And Plan of Action for Cooperation on Border Safety
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
June 22, 2001
Presidents Vicente Fox and George W. Bush, in the "Guanajuato Proposal"
issued following their meeting in February, characterized migration as
one of the major ties that bind Mexico and the United States.
Accordingly, our respective policies should work to create a process of
orderly migration that guarantees humane treatment of migrants,
provides protection of their legal rights, ensures acceptable work
conditions for migrants and also recognizes the right of nations to
control the flow of people across their borders.
For this purpose, the two Presidents directed the Secretary of State
and the Attorney General of the United States, and the Secretaries of
Foreign Relations and of the Interior of Mexico, to engage in formal
high-level discussions to reach short and long-term agreements on
migration and labor issues between Mexico and the United States. Both
governments recognize that migration and its relationship with border
safety are a shared responsibility.
The initial meeting of the High Level Working Group on Migration
occurred in Washington, DC on April 4. The two sides began talks aimed
at achieving the goal of safe, legal, orderly and humane migration as
set forth by our Presidents in Guanajuato. The binational agenda
includes discussion of border safety, the H-2 temporary worker visa
program, ideas on regularization of undocumented Mexicans in the United
States, alternatives for possible new temporary worker programs, and
efforts on regional economic development.
The tragic deaths of fourteen Mexican migrants in the Arizona desert in
May highlighted the pressing need for coordinated efforts to ensure
safe and legal movement between Mexico and the U.S., and for
considering and evaluating the potentials and consequences of expanded
avenues for legal entries of Mexican nationals to the U.S.
A binational working group met June 6 in San Antonio, Texas, to address
border cooperation and safety. A second meeting took place on June 8
in Washington to continue our discussions of all migration-related
issues on the binational agenda and to establish a timeframe for future
action. As a result of these meetings, we agreed to increase
immediately existing efforts to ensure safety on the border and to
review our respective border policies in order to develop ways to
accomplish our common goal of reducing risks and eliminating deaths of
migrants along the border.
These unprecedented cooperative efforts will be guided by a plan of
action whose progress and implementation will be subject to regular
review and evaluation. We have instructed our respective border
authorities to implement immediately the following actions:
- Strengthen public safety campaigns to alert potential migrants of
the dangers of crossing the border in high-risk areas;
- Reinforce operational plans for the protection, search and rescue of
migrants along the border, including the increased aerial surveillance
of desert areas on the U.S. side and increased presence of Grupo Beta
elements on the Mexican side;
- Implement a cooperative, comprehensive and aggressive plan to combat
and dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations; and
- Initiate a pilot-program on use of non-lethal weapons by Border
In order to coordinate special bilateral efforts to protect lives
during the summer season, Mexican and U.S. officials held meetings in
Tucson, Arizona, on June 14 and will hold additional meetings in the
next several weeks in high-risk areas of California (San Diego and
Calexico) and Texas (El Paso and Laredo).
We are committed to making progress in preparing a comprehensive
package of possible alternatives to address all migration-related
issues on the binational agenda for consideration by our two Presidents
when they meet in Washington in September.
Plan of Action for Cooperation on Border Safety
- Both governments agree to coordinate their efforts toward addressing
border safety concerns in order to reduce risks to migrants, law
enforcement authorities and border communities. Such coordination is
the only way effectively to achieve our common goal of enhancing public
safety in the U.S.-Mexico border region.
- Both governments agreed that combating human smugglers, traffickers
and criminal organizations should be given the utmost priority. Only
cooperation in this regard can ensure the full success of this new
comprehensive plan. To that end, Mexican and U.S. law enforcement
agencies will be instructed to embark on an unprecedented joint effort
to dismantle and penalize with all the weight of the law these criminal
- The Mexican Government commits to intensify immediately
comprehensive actions in its territory designed to accomplish the
following: reinforce border safety programs; consider actions to
prevent access to crossing in high-risk areas; alert potential migrants
of the dangers associated with non-authorized entries into the U.S; and
underscore the serious consequences for migrants when they engage
smugglers and criminals who only exploit their vulnerability.
- The U.S. Government commits to review immediately existing border
control operations such as Gatekeeper, Hold the Line, Safeguard and Rio
Grande, and to consider appropriate adjustments or alternatives to
promote safety for migrants, law enforcement authorities and border
communities and to prevent migrant deaths in the border region.
In addition to the above-mentioned agreements, the Plan of Action for
Cooperation on Border Safety includes the following:
I. NATIONAL AND BINATIONAL PROGRAMS FOR MIGRANT SAFETY
- Develop a comprehensive set of binational programs and actions in
areas of immediate concern to eliminate extreme risks to migrants. The
deserts in Western Arizona, the All American Canal and the Rio Grande
should be a priority in this regard.
- Strengthen public safety campaigns in Mexico to alert potential
migrants of the imminent dangers of crossing the border through high-
- Develop and implement specific operational plans for the search and
rescue of migrants in dangerous areas along the border.
- Reinforce training programs on safety and migrant search and rescue
- Map high-risk areas along the border to have an accurate portrait of
new routes and implement preventive actions to reduce migrant risks.
- Activate additional cooperative binational actions on both sides of
the border, like operations "Sky Watch II" - a programs of aerial
surveillance in the Arizona desert - along with the reinforced presence
of Beta Group elements in the Mexican side.
- Schedule periodic meetings, as needed, with Mexican and U.S. border
consulates and law enforcement authorities to review regularly the
results and the progress of local coordination efforts on border
II. TARGETING ALIEN TRAFFICKING
- Strengthen binational coordination among law enforcement agencies to
fight human smugglers and traffickers on both sides of the border.
- Expedite and reinforce the exchange of bilateral information that
targets migrant smugglers and traffickers.
- Review operations to that end (Denial, Crossroads, and Mexican
- Embark on an unprecedented binational effort to combat and dismantle
alien smuggling, trafficking and criminal organizations.
- Oversee and evaluate the outcomes of the implementation of such
bilateral programs by holding periodic meetings.
III. BORDER VIOLENCE
- Implement the U.S.-Mexico Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation
against Border Violence (Mérida, February 15, 1999) and corresponding
Guidelines (Washington, June 8, 2000) for cooperation between Mexican
consuls and U.S. Attorneys in the border region. These memoranda
facilitate the investigation of diverse violent incidents occurring at
- Initiate a pilot program on use of non-lethal weapons by Border
- Strengthen bilateral cooperation on preventive actions in order to:
- Reduce incidents of aggression against Border Patrol agents;
- Prevent assaults against migrants and border authorities;
- Deter migrant detentions by civilians.
- Agree on an immediate plan of action that reduces incursions and
incidents on both sides of the border
- Develop a binational program for demarcation at isolated areas to
V. COOPERATIVE RESPONSES TO BORDER REGION EMERGENCIES
- Agree on a Rapid Response Program that guarantees early alert and
information exchanges between authorities of both governments for the
immediate attention to critical border incidents.
- Such a program should aim to coordinate actions between central
(Washington-Mexico City) and local authorities (Mexican consul-INS/BP)
including measures to ensure that proper investigations are conducted.
- Develop cooperative mechanisms to respond to emergencies at the
border, such as Emergency Management and Response Mechanisms:
- At border crossing points and international bridges in cases of
bomb threats or trans-border pursuit of criminals.
- During weather related and natural disaster emergencies (wild
fires, snow storms, rainstorms, heat waves,) for search and rescue
coordination, publication of weather advisories, etc.
- Enhance coordination to attend to injured persons during
- Consider installation of dedicated telephone alarm system tied
to emergency services
VI. SAFE AND ORDERLY REPATRIATIONS
- Review, via the Interior Consultative Mechanisms (ICM), the
appropriate implementation of the six existing local Safe and Orderly
Repatriation Arrangements, including:
- Coordination of removals from the U.S. interior to the border,
- Prevention of the removal to Mexico of non-Mexican nationals.
VII. REPATRIATION OF EX-CONVICTS
- Reinforce cooperation and coordination through the appropriate
authorities for an orderly, legal and safe return of ex-convicts to
- Meet, as needed, in order to review commitments and adjust existing
VIII. BORDER LIAISON MECHANISMS
- Enhance the role of the ten Border Liaison Mechanisms as bilateral
coordinating entities at the local level.
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