A better way forward than Mexico's new anti-crime legislation
Mexico’s Congress passed legislation on Dec.15 that restricts the work of foreign government employees in a way that could greatly inhibit U.S.-Mexico cooperation against powerful cross-border criminal organizations, which are moving drugs northward to the U.S. and arms and illicit proceeds to Mexico.
Before this grows into a very damaging bilateral problem, the two governments urgently need to engage to address the serious and legitimate issues at stake and find workable solutions through private negotiations.
This legislation was sparked by the arrest and release of former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos in the U.S. on charges of aiding a drug cartel. Mexican commentators and officials cited the surprise arrest of Cienfuegos as a threat to Mexican sovereignty.
The rushed manner in which the law was proposed and passed, however, did not allow for serious consideration of its ramifications for U.S.-Mexico law enforcement cooperation, which is aimed at reducing the violence and damage inflicted on both countries’ citizens by criminal groups. The new law also takes attention away from whether senior Mexican officials have been compromised by cooperating with criminal groups and the Mexican government's increased reliance on the military for public security and other functions.
About the Author
The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute. Read more