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Border Issues

Rhetoric and reality on the US-Mexico border are often misaligned. In an effort to promote a more realistic and holistic approach to the border, the Mexico Institute focuses on issues of economic development and competitiveness; border security and citizen security; environmental sustainability; and quality of life in the border region.

The border region is home to more than 80 million people in four US and six Mexican states and extends nearly 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. Its combined annual GDP is approximately $3.8 trillion and the bulk of US-Mexico trade passes through its many land crossings. The border region serves as a conduit and source of commerce, tourism, and student-exchange that is vital to both countries, and it is the site of intense binational integration and cooperation, especially on issues of shared importance, such as transportation infrastructure and the environment. Key law enforcement efforts to counter transnational crime occur in the border region, and the nature of border ecosystems, which ignore national boundaries, underscores the importance of meaningful cooperation between the two countries to protect shared natural resources and habitats.

border truck

The Impact of State-Level US Legalization Initiatives on Illegal Drug Flows

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Other Initiatives on Border Issues

  • In 2014, the Mexico Institute was pleased to partner with USAID Mexico, the Council of State Governments West, the US Congressional Border Caucus, and the North American Research Partnership on the "US-Mexico Regional Economic Competitiveness Forums 2014." This initiative brought together key business, government, and other stakeholders to discuss the future of the US-Mexico border economy with particular emphasis on four crossborder regions. Discussion topics included developments, best practices and innovations in the integration of the ports of entry (infrastructure, investment, investment and innovation), border management, and the state of the regional economy.

  • In 2011, the Mexico Institute, with the Border Research Partnership, launched an awards program recognizing extraordinary experiences of binational cooperation in several fields, including public safety, transportation planning, environmental stewardship, education, health, and the arts, among others. For more information on the awards, please visit the award’s bilingual websites at and