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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                       (Merida, Yucatan, Mexico)
For Immediate Release                                  February 15, 1999


U.S.-Mexico Cooperation Against Border Violence

Today Attorney General Reno and Foreign Secretary Rosario Green of Mexico signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation Against Border Violence. The MOU is the latest step forward in the continuing joint effort by the United States and Mexico to build cooperation and understanding along the 2,000 mile border we share. It formalizes and enhances existing modes of communication between law enforcement officials on both sides of the border in order to help prevent incidences of violence along the border.

The United States and Mexico share a deep concern about life-threatening border incidents. To help prevent such incidents, both governments pledge in the MOU to take the following steps:

Develop procedures among law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border for responding to calls for assistance when conflicts, assaults, violence, and other threats to public safety occur along the border.

Develop training programs for local and national law enforcement in non-lethal response, proper procedures for patrol and arrest, and heightened community sensitivity.

Formalize communication between U.S. Attorneys and Mexican Consuls along the border.

Establish a working group to monitor and report on the success of these and other bilateral efforts.

In 1997, President Clinton and President Zedillo signed the Joint Statement on Migration affirming their commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation in the management of migration between the two countries. Since that time, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and Mexican officials have taken concrete steps to further the goals of the Statement.

Last June, with the assistance of the Mexican government, INS launched its Border Safety Initiative, an unprecedented effort to reduce injuries, prevent fatalities, and educate migrants about the very real and ever present dangers associated with illegal crossing.

In January, officials from the Department of Justice, Department of State, and INS met with their Mexican counterparts in San Diego to discuss progress in implementing the border safety program. In addition, the participants agreed to explore border-wide arrangements between United States Attorneys and Mexican Consuls to investigate incidents involving U.S. law enforcement and Mexican nationals. The MOU on Cooperation Against Border Violence comes as a result of this meeting.

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