Joe Biden

Joint Statement—United States-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue

October 08, 2021

As two nations with an enduring partnership based on sovereignty, mutual respect, and the extraordinary bond of family and friendship, the United States and Mexico need and want to face security challenges together. Both countries have suffered the effects on our communities of substance addiction, gun violence, illicit drug, arms, and human trafficking, human smuggling, and organized crime. To confront the complex threats of the 21st century, we need to work in a coordinated manner, with a regional vision, and a modern approach of public health and development as part of a holistic cooperation strategy between our countries. With full respect for our sovereignties, we each recognize our shared responsibility and pledge to move forward as partners to find solutions that are backed by justice, effective cooperation on law enforcement, and a data-driven approach to develop effective strategies against organized crime.

Transnational organized crime has taken too many lives in both of our countries. We recognize that we have a responsibility to work together to achieve our shared goals of security and peace. We need to address violence, reduce the capacity of and disrupt transnational criminal organizations, and focus on prevention to create the conditions for a culture of peace, while working side-by-side to address the root causes of crime. We heed the lessons of past efforts and adapt to new threats. Our vision of security cooperation must protect all our people, especially the most vulnerable, and place emphasis on those communities that need support to change the conditions allowing crime to take root. In this framework for security cooperation between the United States and Mexico, we pledge the utmost respect for human rights and an intolerance for corruption, and we take a holistic view of security and a reliance on new methods and tools to address this challenge.

Together, we pledge to prevent crime by working with our youth to provide them with options other than joining organized crime. We pledge to improve prisons to provide more humane and less discriminatory treatment. We pledge to work together to reduce the unlawful trafficking of weapons and munitions to transnational criminal organizations. We pledge to address addictions based on science and with a public health focus. We pledge to create better education, social programs, and alternatives for young people. We plan to share information to detect money laundering and disrupt its facilitators and work to prevent corruption from continuing to poison our societies and injure our citizens. We pledge to fight organized crime and its new methods and business models, with shared information and new technology.

The United States-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities

In the lead-up to 2022, when we celebrate 200 years of bilateral relations between the United States and Mexico, we propose a new vision of regional security and collaboration anchored in respect for the sovereignty of each country. This new framework establishes a comprehensive and long-term approach to guide bilateral actions going forward. Together, we can build a system of peace, justice, and respect for the rule of law.

The United States and Mexico pledge to stand together to:

Protect our people by investing in public health as related to the impacts of drug use, supporting safe communities, and reducing homicides and high-impact crimes.
Prevent transborder crime by securing modes of travel and commerce, reducing arms trafficking, targeting illicit supply chains, and reducing human trafficking and smuggling.

Pursue criminal networks by disrupting illicit financiers and strengthening security and justice sectors.

In support of the goals of the Bicentennial Framework and our current institutional collaboration, the United States and Mexico pledge to take concrete actions to strengthen our cooperation on security, including the following:

To protect our people, we intend to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding to reduce substance abuse disorder and associated harms, with the intent to develop plans to prevent drug consumption, provide evidence-based treatment, and strengthen early warning systems and ability to track demand. The United States intends to expand efforts to identify, treat, and support those impacted by substance abuse disorder and addiction by providing financial and technical assistance to U.S. states and local governments through new grants from the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulants, and other Substances Abuse Program (COSSAP). The United States also plans to provide grants by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support treatment and prevention of substance abuse disorder for at-risk individuals.

Both countries pledge to create a Network for Homicide Prevention, in order to provide a platform for the exchange of best practices in crime and violence prevention, homicide reduction, work with at-risk youth, and work toward safe and peaceful communities. In addition, the Network plans to consider creating multidisciplinary Homicide Task Forces focused on high-impact crimes linked to transnational criminal organizations, with a focus on forensic laboratories and support for investigation and prosecution.

To prevent transborder crime, Mexico intends to work with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the launch of the UNODC Port Container Control Program in order to strengthen control and management of incoming shipments for precursor chemicals.

Both countries affirm our commitment to work together, in full respect of our sovereignties, to combat arms trafficking by coordinating bilaterally on detection and interdiction of firearms, considering new strategies, and strengthening our collective efforts. We affirm our support for current initiatives and the need to continue current efforts to stop firearms sold in the United States from reaching Mexico, and actions to identify, target, and investigate financing, transportation, and communication methods employed by smuggling networks in order to disrupt and dismantle their operations. We pledge to expand training, increase personnel, and increase information exchange to strengthen the security and justice sector actors to combat, investigate, and prosecute the criminal use of firearms, to pursue extraditions where possible, and to stand up additional ballistics labs to process over 80,000 seized weapons in Mexico.

We affirm our commitment to expand bilateral cooperation to counter human smuggling and human trafficking by transnational criminal organizations, and to work to prosecute human smugglers on both sides of the border. The United States and Mexico commit to convening our bilateral cyber working group by 2022, with the goal of promoting international security and stability in cyberspace, sharing information, exploring ways to protect critical infrastructure, a focus on preventing and addressing cybercrime, as well as training and exchange of best practices and increasing engagement with the private sector.

To pursue criminal networks, the United States and Mexico commit to increasing bilateral and parallel actions to disrupt illicit actors and their financial networks, such as the October 6 designation of members of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) operating through the port of Manzanillo and the surrounding areas. CJNG is responsible for trafficking a significant proportion of the fentanyl and other deadly drugs that enter the United States. This action was a result of collaboration between the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Mexico's Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF).

We also commit to targeting importers of chemical precursors and their financial networks, with special focus on import companies suspected of diverting precursor chemicals for the production of synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, to transnational criminal organizations, as well as targeting underground laboratories. We intend to create a bilateral working group on precursor chemical regulation to standardize protocols and regulation for dual-use substances to prevent their use in the production of synthetic drugs.

The United States and Mexico affirm our commitment to human rights, and to advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity in each of our nations. Both governments commit to forensic cooperation to help solve the thousands of cases of disappearances and forced disappearances in Mexico, for the benefit of victims' families and in our fight against impunity. Following the June visit of Vice President Kamala Harris, we continue to support the efforts of Mexico's National Search Commission.

NOTE: An original was not available for verification of the content of this joint statement.

Joseph R. Biden, Joint Statement—United States-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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