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UCSD group releases report suggesting collaboration between U.S., Mexico

Posted at 3:18 PM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 18:18:44-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies released a report today detailing recommendations for both countries to cooperate on border security and drug trafficking policy.

Chief among the report's recommendations is the creation of a joint cooperating group to help both countries reconcile their differences to achieve the best policies possible. The report also suggests the creation of a joint task force to disrupt trafficking of opioids like fentanyl.

Bilateral cooperation is made difficult at the moment, according to the center, due to the divergent policy views of U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office last December.

While Lopez Obrador declared an end to the country's war on drugs in January, Trump has sought to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to deter drug traffickers and violent criminals in addition to immigrants entering the country illegally.

"Despite these challenges, we see this as an opportunity to resume a dialogue at the highest level around bilateral security,'' said Rafael Fernandez de Castro, the center's director. "Our report offers concrete and implementable policy recommendations over the next six years of Lopez Obrador's presidency, ensuring policymakers are informed and prepared to continue cooperation efforts in a difficult phase in the bilateral relationship.''

In addition to the two joint groups, the center suggested that the U.S. should improve its cooperation with and support for Mexico's newly established National Guard, its criminal justice system and community policing efforts in both countries. Lopez Obrador has repeatedly stated his intention to snuff out acts of corruption and extortion in Mexico, a measure the U.S. should assist in investigating, according to the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies.

"It's critical that the two countries align their shared security interests, as the safety of Mexican and U.S. citizens and the security of both countries are intertwined,'' said Cecilia Farfan-Mendez, at postdoctoral scholar at the center.

Fernandez de Castro, Farfan-Mendez and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Wayne presented their report to the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., last month. Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown served as one of the report's co-authors.