U.S.-Mexico security cooperation is at a historic high. Will that change under Trump?

From the Washington PostMEXICO CITY — Every airplane passenger who arrives in Mexico is vetted against U.S. criminal and national security databases, a ­daily dose of intelligence sharing aimed at finding fugitives and suspected terrorists.

In the Mexico City airport, plainclothes U.S. border officers work alongside their Mexican counterparts to investigate suspicious travelers bound for the United States. In Brownsville, Tex., U.S. customs agents remotely watch X-ray scans of train cargo from the Mexican side of the border.

For much of their history, the United States and Mexico had a wary relationship and security cooperation was limited. It wasn’t until 1996 that Mexico began extraditing its citizens accused of crimes to the United States. But over the past two decades, as their economies have become more ­interdependent, the countries have developed an extraordinary level of collaboration in addressing terrorist threats and capturing dangerous criminals.

Today, that partnership is at risk. The Trump administration has threatened to ramp up deportations of illegal immigrants, scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and make Mexico pay for a border wall. The Mexican economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, told a Canadian newspaper last month that if relations deteriorate, “the incentives for the Mexican people to keep on cooperating” on security issues “will be diminished.”

“Many different agencies and many different players are now in a holding position,” said a senior Mexican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. “That is not good.” …



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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.