During her trip to Mexico City last week, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, participated in news conferences and bilateral meetings with Mexican Foreign Minister Luiz Videgaray and Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete Prida. The meetings discussed a wide range of topics, including: the need to halt the illicit flow of weapons at the border and reducing violence, the need to disrupt transnational criminal organizations and money laundering, the success of joint border operations, improved intelligence sharing, infrastructure improvements for the border, the responsibility of both countries to address refugee and asylum cases, and respect for the human rights of migrants. Both U.S. and Mexican officials reiterated that a strong working relationshipand the safe and efficient crossing of goods is critical to the economic success of both countries.
Secretary Nielsen, alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, also signed three agreements with Mexican counterparts in an effort to help facilitate cross border security and trade. Secretary Nielsen commented that the two countries were working on 20 more Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and letters of intent.
The first agreement, a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC), was signed between CBP and the Mexican Tax Administration Service (SAT) on Customs and Trade Enforcement, “which will facilitate the development and implementation of joint and coordinated programs aimed at increasing trade and customs compliance, as well as combatting illicit activities.”
The second agreement, also signed by CBP and SAT, was a MoU on the Cargo Pre-Inspection Program and Unified Cargo Processing (UCP). This MoU reiterated the “bilateral commitment for the further implementation of cargo pre-inspection and UCP programs, through which Mexican customs officers and CBP officers will work together to inspect and process cargo shipments.”
The final agreement, between CBP and Mexico’s National Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality Service (SENASICA), was an MoU “to enable collaboration between the two agencies on agriculture safeguarding, agriculture quarantine inspections at ports of entry, and information sharing. The MoU promotes cooperation and information sharing to help enable the U.S. to handle legitimate and safe shipments while addressing those that pose a risk.”
Secretary Nielsen later met with Mexican President Peña Nieto where the two reiterated the need for improved border security, aided by continued close collaboration. Both also discussed ways in which to facilitate more secure trade and travel and spur cross border economic prosperity for both the U.S. and Mexico.