Cablegate: Joint Border Governors Conference Calls On Feds To

DE RUEHME #5362/01 2821826
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E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Sonora Governor Eduardo Boars sponsored the 25th
Annual Border Governor's Conference in Puerto Penasco,
Sonora. Eight of the ten U.S. and Mexican border-state
governors attended. Mexican President Felipe Calderon called
for cross-border labor mobility and cooperation in combating
the drug trade in his speech to the opening plenary. DHS
Secretary Chertoff discussed the "virtual fence" and

combating the drug trade. While a lot of working group time
was spent on housekeeping and reviewing last year's
accomplishments, some groups did have productive discussions
that will likely become requests to the federal government.
The conference was also an opportunity for border governors
to seek greater involvement from the federal governments,
namely the USG. End Summary.


2. (U) The State of Sonora sponsored the 25th annual Border
Governor's Conference, a yearly meeting of the governors of
the 10 border states and their representatives to discuss
issues affecting the region. The state, in an effort to
highlight the burgeoning tourism development of the region,
hosted the conference in the seaside resort town of Puerto
Penasco. The growing community of 44,000 is known in the
U.S. as Rocky Point and is situated approximately four hours
south of Phoenix by car.
Attendees included:

Eduardo Bours - Sonora
Jose Reyes Baeza - Chihuahua
Jose Natividad Gonzalez - Nuevo Leon
Eugenio Elorduy - Baja California
Humberto Moreira - Coahuila
Eugenio Hernandez - Tamaulipas

Arnold Schwarzenegger - California
Janet Napolitano - Arizona

3. (U) Governors Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Rick Perry
of Texas sent representatives. Mexican President Felipe
Calderon, U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security Michael
Chertoff, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Patricia
Espinosa, Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., Arturo Sarukhan,
Governor-Elect of Baja California, Jose Guadalupe Osuna
Millan, and Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for North
American Affairs, Carlos Rico participated in various

Working Group Highlights
4. (U) Governors and staff members attended a series of
working group meetings followed by a plenary session where
the governors were able to discuss the issues facing the
region. State representatives met during separate working
groups covering agriculture, education, environment, economic
development, water, energy, tourism, health, science and
technology, logistics and international crossings, wildlife,
and border security, as well as a special sub-working group
specifically tackling emergencies and civilian protection
cooperation. Session highlights included:

Logistics and International Crossings:

5. (SBU) California representatives gave a presentation on
WHTI and on the effectiveness of the double-stacked
inspection booth concept that has been piloted over the last
few months at the San Ysidro port of entry. According to his
presentation, the concept of building one booth immediately
after the existing inspection booth a la Wal-Mart or Target
is an inexpensive though labor intensive way to improve
throughput by up to 46 percent. The final declaration by the
governors suggested installing double stacked booths widely
on the US/Mexico border.


6. (SBU) The Governor of Tamaulipas, during his final
comments at the plenary session, said that Mexico should
comply with its water sharing requirements in accordance with
the provisions of the U.S.-Mexico 1944 water treaty. His

MEXICO 00005362 002 OF 003

comment appeared directed at the Mexican federal government
in support of Tamaulipas farmers who want the water allotted
to the U.S. to come from the Conchos River basin and other
listed sources further upstream, rather than those river
systems that more directly affect Tamaulipas. Conversely,
Jose Luis Luege, Director General of the National Water
Commission (CONAgua), said during the Water worktable meeting
that Mexico would comply with its treaty obligation to fully
deliver water in the latest water cycle to the U.S. through a
storage transfer using water in Amistad and Falcon


7. (SBU) Participants in several working groups raised the
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Border States
requests that have already been granted include: postponement
of the roll out date, the use of a cheaper alternative
document to the passport, and a comprehensive study of the
economic effects of the WHTI. Border state representatives
expressed concern over the lack of information on the
pass-cards as a future alternative to passports; however, the
rollout's postponement has calmed the states significantly.

8. (SBU) According to the USG commissioned economic impact
finding summarized during the economic development work
group, there will be a small net increase in northbound
crossings as document requirements will not change for
Mexican travelers. The combined gain from Canadian and
Mexican travel across both borders into the U.S. is estimated
to be 230 million USD per year. While all the Border States
are interested in WHTI implementation plans, the U.S. states
appear to have a more active concern as the Mexican states
are limited in their ability to lessen its effects.

Emergencies and Civilian Protection:

9. (SBU) The Emergencies and Civilian Protection group is a
special non-standard working group, focuses on bi-national
emergency response. This relatively new, but very active
group assigned states on each side of the border to take
charge of cataloging available first responder training
particularly in advance of the possibility of an influenza
pandemic. Participants assigned a second team to catalog
first responder equipment slated for disposal that might be
attractive to other jurisdictions. At least one Mexican
state delegate, though, took the Mexican federal civil
protection representative to task for the historical reliance
on used, donated equipment for civil protection services.
Mexican federal officials responded that funding is provided
to state governments for civil protection as well as other
security needs, but it is often diverted at the state level
to police departments rather than civil protection
authorities. One attendee suggested allocations be earmarked
specifically for civil protect
ion to assure adequate resources for the tasks at hand.

10. (SBU)The delegates also discussed developing a first
responder MOU between adjoining border states as a first step
to securing a compact permitting emergency services from any
of the ten border states to respond to crises in any other
state, addressing liability and other legal issues involved.
Some northeastern US states and neighboring Canadian
provinces have signed a similar existing compact and are
working on a second that could prove a model for US/Mexico
border states.

Calderon Addresses Migration and Drug Fight

11. (SBU) During his opening session speech, President
Calderon emphasized that his government recognized the
importance of the recommendations coming out of the
conference and that it should be powerful instrument to
strengthen the integration between the two nations. On
migration he said that the two nations are complementary in
that the U.S. has capital and Mexico has the labor force.
Mexican workers complement the U.S. work force and should be
treated with dignity and respect. He acknowledged that
immigration takes the strongest workers and separates
families, and the only way to change the status quo is to
generate conditions for prosperity in Mexico. However, he
said that the region as a whole must be competitive, not just
one country, and freedom of capital and labor movement is as

MEXICO 00005362 003 OF 003

important to competitiveness as the free movement of goods
and service covered by NAFTA.

12. (SBU) On combating the drug trade and reestablishing rule
of law, Calderon said both countries have separate duties to
fight crime and insecurity. He specifically noted that
demand reduction was essential to reducing organized crime
suppliers. Calderon also addressed the need to stop the flow
of money and arms to drug traffickers in order to stop the
flow of drugs from traffickers.

Chertoff Misses Speech but Talks to Press, Governors
--------------------------------------------- -------

13. (SBU) Although DHS Secretary Chertoff was scheduled to
address the closing session of the conference, flight delays
caused him to arrive as Governor Bours was giving the closing
remarks and he was unable to make his statement.
Nonetheless, he was able to participate in the 30 minute
press conference that followed the session. He also had
brief private meetings with SRE Undersecretary Rico and
Governor Bours. He later met with Governors Napolitano and
Schwarzenegger over lunch.

14. (SBU) Press coverage focused on Chertoff's defense of the
"virtual fence" and statements that the US and Mexico are
discussing joint programs to address criminal gangs and drug
trafficking. In response to complaints that the federal
government is not doing enough to alleviate the bottlenecks
at border crossings, Chertoff said that DHS is increasing the
number of lanes at ports of entry and looking into high-tech
solutions to speed up crossings. Chertoff praised President
Calderon's efforts to battle the illegal drug trade and
agreed with Calderon's statement on stemming the flow of
weapons and money as well as drugs. He mentioned work
between the USG and GOM to find partnership activities to
fight organized crime.


15. (SBU) Many of the working groups spent the majority of
the time reviewing the accomplishments made in the year since
the previous conference. Some topics, such as water, border
security, and international crossings, were deemed federal
issues and are thus impossible to solve at the border
governor level. Governors from both sides criticized what
they saw as unresponsiveness on the side of the U.S.
government in dealing with border problems. The Mexican
government showed strong support for the border governors,
evidenced by President Calderon's attendance at the
inauguration ceremony and the federal participation in the
working groups. Arizona Governor Napolitano summed up
participant sentiments by calling for the U.S. federal
government to do more to help tackle the issues facing the
border region. She said, "Our federal government can no
longer satisfy us simply by coming to a meeting and giving a
speech. What we require are resources and dedication and a
priority setting that has yet to be seen."
The state of California held the vice presidency and, in
accordance with tradition, will host next year's conference
in Hollywood.

Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at and the North American
Partnership Blog at /

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