Engaging the Borderlands: Options for the Future of U.S.-Mexican Relations   [open pdf - 432KB]

"The security of the U.S.-Mexican border is an issue of considerable interest for both countries. The North American Free Trade Agreement has created a web of symbiotic links between the two countries. Unfortunately, this has also presented opportunities for illegal transit. These opportunities are increasingly exploited by Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) whose actions are destabilizing Mexico and increasingly penetrating into the United States. Increasing levels of violence, intimidation, and influence have rapidly become intolerable, demanding a government response. While widespread use of the U.S. military remains an option, the costs both economic and operational, make the use an unviable one. Rather a mixed approach of U.S. and Mexican capacity building and economic assistance is a preferred alternative. The increased capacity of U.S. and Mexican security and law enforcement organizations will over time disrupt, then dismantle the Mexican DTOs. Simultaneously, economic assistance aimed at developing impoverished Mexican regions will both legitimize the Mexican government while marginalizing the influx of narco-dollars. This combined approach provides stability to the region, increases cooperation between neighboring governments, and fosters further legitimate economic growth in the region."

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