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Despite cartel violence, DHS moves to increase travel between countries

Looking to strengthen the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment with Mexico, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano traveled to Mexico City to meet with her counterpart and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to fighting terrorism and other transnational crimes.

Among the business conducted by Napolitano was the “signing an agreement to facilitate secure, legitimate travel as part the United States’ and Mexico’s continued efforts to enhance the security of both nations.”

A statement released by DHS explained that “In the face of ever-evolving, multinational threats, the United States is committed to working with our international partners to enhance information-sharing and our mutual security.”

Secretary Napolitano described her confidence in the relationship between the two countries. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the Mexican government as we forge an unprecedented international security framework that facilitates legitimate trade and travel while protecting our citizens.”

The Mexico City meeting included the signing of an accord expressing both countries intent to develop a Global Entry International Trusted Traveler program pilot. Secretary Napolitano and Mexico Ministry of the Interior Secretary José Francisco Blake Mora shored up plans for a Global Entry “to facilitate secure, legitimate travel between the two nations.”

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) describes the Global Entry as a program that would allow pre-approved members, who undergo a vigorous background check as well as provide biometrics in order to expedite U.S. customs processing.

This new program could reduce average border crossing times and permit law enforcement to focus on other serious security threats at America’s busy points of entry.

The anticipated program would provide Global Entry kiosks at America’s ports of entry that require members to insert their passport or lawful permanent resident card (LPR) into a document reader, provide their digital fingerprints for comparison with fingerprints on file, answer customs declaration questions and finally spit out a transaction receipt for the traveler to give to a CBP officer in order to leave the inspection area.

Disqualifiers for potential applicants include providing false or incomplete information on the SENTRI application; a criminal conviction or pending criminal charges; violations of any immigration laws; subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency; the inability to satisfy CBP of their low risk status.

Other business conducted by Secretary Napolitano, Minister Blake Mora and Mexican Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Julian Ventura was a signed “Letter of Intent” between DHS, Mexico’s Secretariat of Governance and Secretariat of Foreign Affairs affirming their shared commitment to collaborate on a plan to expeditiously and humanly repatriate Mexican nationals to interior parts of Mexico once they’ve been processed and deported.

“The Letter of Intent builds on the framework of 30 Local Arrangements for the Repatriation of Mexican Nationals between consular and immigration authorities of both nations established by Secretary Napolitano and Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa on April 3, 2009–formalizing the operational coordination between governments to guarantee a safe, orderly and humane repatriation process,” the statement concludes.

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© Copyright 2010Kimberly Dvorak all rights reserved

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