Top officials from the United States and Mexico met for a high-level security dialogue in Mexico City on October 8 hammering out a new security framework that emphasizes shared priorities, values, and responsibilities.
The new framework modernizes the 2008 Merida Initiative and is named the “U.S.-Mexico Bicentennial Framework on Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities.”
According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Bicentennial Framework has three goals. The first is protecting the public health and safety of the people of the United States and Mexico. Secretary Blinken explained that while law enforcement plays a critical role in reducing homicides and other serious crimes, in the past too great a reliance was placed on security forces. “Our efforts also have to include substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery support to help those struggling with addiction, to reduce the profound harm that illicit drugs inflict on our communities, and to reduce demand. And our governments agreed that protecting our people means protecting human rights.”
In addition, Secretary Blinken cited the need for investment in economic opportunities, particularly for underserved communities and regions, which was a key focus of the high-level economic dialogue that the United States relaunched with Mexico in September.
The second goal of the Bicentennial Framework is preventing trafficking across borders. “We know that reducing arms trafficking is a priority for Mexico, as many of the illicit weapons in [Mexico] come from the United States,” Secretary Blinken said. “We’re committed to deepening our collaboration on arms tracing, on investigations, and on prosecutions to disrupt the supply.”
Finally, the third goal focuses on pursuing transnational criminal networks. Secretary Blinken noted the two countries “will be making our justice systems more effective at investigating and prosecuting organized crime and increasing cooperation on extraditions.”
Secretary Blinken emphasized that as “crucial as this new framework is, we want the U.S.-Mexico partnership to be about more, much more, than migration and security. Instead, it has to reflect the full range of issues where we share interests and we share values, including the environment, agriculture, technology, energy, trade, and the innovative ideas that we came up with at the first High-Level Economic Dialogue.”
“The next months and years,” Secretary Blinken said, “could be transformational in realizing the full potential of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and delivering in concrete ways for our people.”