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Cablegate: Secretary Chertoff and Minister Mourino Discuss

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FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
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INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
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2008-03-11 19:40:00
08MEXICO714
Embassy Mexico
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN

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INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
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TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KCRM SNAR KHLS MX
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 000714

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

PASS TO DHS ADAM ISLES

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2027
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KCRM SNAR KHLS MX
SUBJECT: SECRETARY CHERTOFF AND MINISTER MOURINO DISCUSS
COOPERATION IN MEETING SHARED CHALLENGES

MEXICO 00000714 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Charles V. Barclay. Reason
: 1.4 (b),(d).

1. C) Summary DHS Secretary Chertoff stressed with
Mexico's Minister of Government Mourino the
importance the U.S. attached to greater access to
Special Interest Aliens (SIAs) illegally in
Mexico. He requested Mexico consider requiring
passenger manifest information on a mandatory
basis. Mourino conveyed concern about violence on the
border and urged the U.S. to do more to
combat arms trafficking. Both sides agreed to work to
exchange more intelligence and deepen
cooperation as part of a concerted effort to disrupt
smuggling and trafficking organizations
along the border. End Summary.

Merida Initiative Sends Important Message to Traffickers

2. (U) In a 2/28 meeting with Mexico's Minister of
Government Juan Camilo Mourino on the margins of the SPP
meeting in los Cabos, Mexico, DHS Secretary Chertoff praised
the Calderon administration's efforts to combat organized
crime and the coordination between the U.S. and Mexico that
has proven so crucial to this campaign. He assured Mourino
that winning passage of the Merida Initiative remains a
priority. Mourino acknowledged that Mexico needs the
assistance the Merida Initiative promises but insisted Mexico
considers the initiative as valuable for the message it sends
to traffickers that the U.S. and Mexican governments are
working together in their fight.

Dealing with SIAs

3. (C) Secretary Chertoff recounted how in the past Mexico
had held Special Interest Aliens (SIAs) illegally in Mexico
upwards of 30 days allowing U.S. law enforcement authorities
access to them before their release. He lamented an apparent
change in policy that facilitates their rapid release )
sometimes in as few as five days -- often effectively denying
U.S. officials access to these individuals, including the
ability to obtain their fingerprints. Separately, the U.S.
was concerned simple release of SIAs allowed for them to
resume their trip north. Chertoff informed Mourino that the
U.S. was prepared to assist in flying SIAs back to their
country of origin, confident this measure reduced their
prospects of making it into the U.S.

4. (C) According to Mourino and GOM CISEN officials,
complaints by NGOs about allowing foreign officials access to
third country nationals had prompted Mexico to change its
policy with regard to allowing USG officials access to SIAs.
Mexico was prepared to share information it acquired from its
own interviews with SIAs. Mourino hoped adoption of a new
policy in short order would require aliens to return the same
way they had arrived within three days of release.

Providing Manifest Information on a Mandatory Basis

5. (C) Airlines flying to Mexico provide advanced passenger
information (API) on a voluntary basis, which is then
forwarded to DHS for analysis against lookout date. CARICOM
has agreed to the same but on a mandatory basis. Chertoff
told Mourino the U.S. was prepared to work to continue
funding GOM cooperation on this issue but requested Mexico
make this transmittal of API mandatory as was the case with
many countries around the world. Mourino said that he would
have to look into this issue.

Joining Efforts to Reduce Border Violence, Target Organized
Crime

6. (C) Chertoff Indicated that closer coordination in
targeting particular organizations could strengthen efforts
to reduce violence along the border. Mourino agreed but
conveyed concern about CBP's use of tear gas and the
attention this was drawing in the Mexican press. Chertoff
said the U.S. would look into adopting the use of
interoperable radios at the command level as a way of
improving coordination and consequently reducing violence on
the border. He suggested law enforcement authorities from
both sides should strengthen joint targeting of high
priority smuggling and trafficking organizations. At

MEXICO 00000714 002.2 OF 002


Mourino's suggestion, they agreed to consider the Tijuana
area of operation and to follow-up again in the near future
to discuss how to advance this approach.

Stepping Up Cooperation on Combating Arms Trafficking

7. (C) Mourino stressed Mexico's concern about the
trafficking of arms across the U.S. border both in small and
large shipments via purchases made at gun shows as well as
transshipments merely moving through the U.S. from third
countries. Mexico appreciated the USG's e-trace program but
maintained it did not apply to large weapons and did not
represent a solution to the problem in and of itself.
Mourino was pleased to learn of "Armas Cruzadas," an
initiative that would improve coordination among ICE, ATF,
CBP, and other agencies as part of efforts to tackle more
effectively arms trafficking but requested the U.S. do more
to publicize this initiative. Chertoff stressed the need for
better intelligence on arms trafficking. He conveyed a
desire to revisit this issue in the officials' upcoming visit
on the border.

8. (U) Secretary Chertoff's delegation cleared this
message.

Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
GARZA

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