Mérida Initiative for Mexico and Central America: Funding and Policy Issues [Updated July 6, 2009]   [open pdf - 327KB]

"In October 2007, the United States and Mexico announced the Mérida Initiative, a three-year program of U.S. assistance to Mexico and Central America to combat drug trafficking, gangs,andorganizedcrime. Named for the location of a March 2007 meeting between Presidents George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón of Mexico, the Mérida Initiative seeks to expand bilateral and regional anticrime and counterdrug cooperation. In June 2008, the 110th Congress appropriated $465 million in supplemental assistance for Mexico, Central America, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic in the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-252). On December 3, 2008, the United States and Mexico signed a Letter of Agreement, allowing $197 million in Mérida funds to be disbursed. In the first six months of 2009, the Central American countries all signed Letters of Agreement with the United States. The Bush Administration requested a second installment of Mérida funding-$450 million for Mexico and $100 million for Central America-in its FY2009 budget request. Congress did not include Mérida Initiative funding in a continuing resolution because the initial pot of Mérida funding was provided through a supplemental assistance measure. For this reason, it was taken up early in the first session of the 111th Congress in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 111- 8) signed into law in March 2009 and Mexico, Central America, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic received a total of $410 million. [...] This report provides an overview and discussion of the funding provided for Mérida, and presents several issues that Congress may consider as it oversees implementation of the Initiative and shapes its future direction."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40135
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