With more than $1 billion in cross-border commerce taking place every day, the U.S. and Mexican economies are increasingly linked, with both nations committing to expediting lawful trade and travel—and reducing barriers to expanded commerce—while still maintaining security. In the past 15 months, the United States and Mexico have formed an unprecedented partnership to confront common security challenges, and expanded and streamlined opportunities for lawful trade and commerce along our shared Southwest border. As Mexican President Felipe Calderón continues to target violent drug cartels along the border, the Obama administration recently marked the first anniversary of its Southwest Border Initiative, deploying additional personnel, technology, and infrastructure to the region to crack down on transnational crime that fuels the violence.
On May 4, the Brookings Institution hosted a discussion with Janet Napolitano, U.S. Homeland Security secretary, and Fernando Gómez-Mont, Mexican Interior secretary. Secretary Napolitano has visited Mexico five times in the past year, most recently in March as part of the U.S. delegation for the Mérida U.S.-Mexico High Level Consultative Group, where she and Secretary Gómez-Mont signed agreements to bolster aviation and border security between their countries. Brookings Senior Fellow Audrey Singer provided introductory remarks and Senior Fellow E.J. Dionne, Jr. moderated the discussion.
After their remarks, Secretary Napolitano and Secretary Gómez-Mont took questions from the audience.