In closed-door meetings at the downtown Manchester Grand Hyatt, the participating mayors — five from Mexico and 12 from the United States — sought common ground on topics ranging from immigration to law enforcement to border crossings.

The group included the chairman — John Cook, mayor of El Paso — and Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, president of the Association of Mayors of Northern Mexico. Other cities represented included Ciudad Juárez, across from El Paso, and the Arizona border cities of Yuma, San Luis, Nogales and Douglas.

“I think we’re seeing the border mayors begin to consolidate themselves as an organization,” said Andrew Selee, vice president for programs of the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., and a senior advisor to its Mexico Institute. “They seem to be gaining strength, which is a positive sign.”