United States-Mexico Partnership: Managing our 21st Century Border

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
April 30, 2013

The United States and Mexico are committed to effective, 21st century management of our 2,000-mile border to facilitate legitimate travel and trade and assure our economic competitiveness and security. The well-being of both countries requires us to manage the border jointly, and we share responsibility for cross-border law enforcement:

  • Expediting Legitimate Trade and Travel – Each day, $1.4 billion of commerce and one million people cross our border. We work together to accelerate this flow of people and goods through our ports of entry in order to increase our economic competitiveness. Our governments work with the private sector to encourage investment in the people, technology, and infrastructure that makes this border work. We developed rapid transit lanes for low-risk travelers and cargo, and are working to implement secure transit of pre-cleared rail and truck shipments. Infrastructure investment will make our shared border much more efficient and secure and create jobs and economic opportunities, not just in the border region, but across both countries.
  • Enhancing Public Safety – Both governments embrace the responsibilities they share to protect Mexican and U.S. citizens from criminal organizations that attempt to move people, drugs, arms, and money across our border. We developed joint strategies to control smuggling and trafficking corridors along with regular sharing of information on investigations, prosecutions, and screening practices.
  • A Risk-Based Approach – The United States and Mexico recognize that the central challenge in managing flows of people and goods across our border is to separate high-risk travelers and cargo from low-risk people and goods. We adopted mechanisms to prevent illegitimate trade and travel while expediting legitimate movements. These include complementary United States and Mexican government strategies to manage risk, binational mechanisms to share information on goods and people, and trusted traveler and shipper programs. We continue to work with the private sector to ensure these mechanisms remain effective.
  • Engaging Border Communities – Approximately 13 million people live in the border region, and approximately 75 million people live in the four U.S. and six Mexican states along our border. For these communities, successful border management, including effective security and facilitation of travel and trade, affects families, regional prosperity, and the very environment in which community members live. We recognize that collaborative border management requires the continuing engagement of border communities, as well as state, local, and tribal governments, in bi-national strategy development, law enforcement, and communications.
  • Setting Policy – Our bilateral 21st Century Border Management initiative has reinvigorated our policy-setting architecture to address the statutory, regulatory, systems, and infrastructure changes that will enable us to realize our vision of collaborative border management.