Executive Steering Committee for the 21st Century Border Management Initiative
The Bilateral Executive
Steering Committee (ESC) for the U.S.-Mexico 21st Century Border Management
Initiative met today at the Mexican Secretariat for Foreign Relations in Mexico
City. The meeting was chaired by the U.S.
National Security Council Senior Director of Transborder Security, Sarah
Kendall and Mexican Secretariat for Foreign Relations Under Secretary for North
America, Carlos Perez Verdia, and attended by senior officials from the United
States and Mexico.
This binational mechanism
meets regularly to discuss initiatives to expedite the flow of people and goods
between Mexico and the United States and promote public safety and law
enforcement cooperation in the border region. At this meeting, the ESC reviewed the progress
it has made with its 2015 action plans, and agreed on the actions for 2016
through its three subcommittees: Infrastructure,
Secure Flows of People and Goods, and Law Enforcement and Security.
Thanks to the hard work
of agencies from both countries that compose the Infrastructure Subcommittee, we
saw significant progress during 2015 that will positively impact the daily
lives of millions of people in the border region as well as streamline trade between
the two countries.
For example, in the
Tijuana-San Diego region, our governments completed a new pedestrian access facility
as part of the modernization and expansion of the largest land port of entry in
the world, the San Ysidro-El Chaparral port of entry. This new facility allows Mexican immigration
and customs officials to process increased southbound pedestrian flows in an
orderly and efficient manner. Likewise, operations
began on December 9 at the Tijuana Airport Cross Border Express, a unique
project allowing passengers arriving at the Tijuana Airport traveling to the United
States, or departing U.S.-based passengers wishing to board a flight at the
airport, to cross the border quickly and easily with a cross-border pedestrian
bridge and new U.S. terminal with transportation links.
Likewise, in the Texas-Chihuahua
border region, construction at the Tornillo-Guadalupe International Bridge and
Port of Entry has been completed, providing a new option for passengers and
cargo in the vicinity of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. In the Texas-Tamaulipas region, the Brownsville-Matamoros
International Railway Bridge opened in August 2015, removing rail operations from
urban areas in Matamoros and Brownsville, improving road safety, reducing
traffic congestion, improving the community’s quality of life, and increasing
the commercial trade throughout this corridor.
For its part, the Secure
Flows Subcommittee continued its work to facilitate the secure movement of
people and goods along our common border. To this end, we continued the active promotion
of trusted traveler programs in both countries: Viajero
Confiable in Mexico and Global Entry
in the United States. These programs are
intended to streamline the flow of travelers, tourists, and business people
across our border. We also continued several
studies measuring wait times for passenger vehicles and cargo, with a view to
establishing concrete measures to manage these flows efficiently and develop
binational strategies for dealing with common traffic problems.
In addition, the
governments of the United States and Mexico signed an arrangement formalizing
the Cargo Pre-Inspection Program, through which customs agencies of both
countries will conduct inspections of goods before they cross the border with
the goal of increasing customs efficiency and capacity. The first such pilot program began at the
Laredo International Airport in Laredo, Texas in October 2015. Additional pilots will be implemented at the
Mesa de Otay Port of Entry in Tijuana, Baja California and in San Jeronimo,
Chihuahua in 2016.
The Law Enforcement and
Security subcommittee made progress in strengthening binational coordination for
information exchange and establishing joint patrols to increase security in the
Finally, the ESC agreed
on an ambitious action plan for 2016 in order to continue ongoing efforts to
strengthen cooperation in the border region, which is key for the development,
competitiveness, and well-being of both countries.
Border as a Key Region
Efficient management of the
U.S.-Mexico border is essential not only for the U.S.-Mexico trade
relationship, but also for increasing North American competitiveness and the prosperity
of our societies. Approximately 14
million people reside on both sides of the border across the 3,150 km region. Every day, more than a million people and
300,000 vehicles use the 57 crossings between the ten states (four U.S. and six
Mexican) along the border. The 21st
Century Border Management Initiative was established in 2010 to promote the
secure and efficient flow of goods and people across our shared border.