Border Security | Wilson Center

Border Security

The Relationship

There is no border as complex and diverse as that separating Mexico from the U.S. It would be easy to simplify it, rationalize it as a merely commercial matter. The reality comprises an enormous diversity, complexity and multiplicity. The boundary with the U.S. includes legal and illegal crossing points, drugs, contraband, persons, ideas, goods, services and disputes. An old saying from the Mexican side of the region held that “if it fits through the bridge, it can pass”.

Eighth Annual U.S.-Mexico Security Conference: Taking Stock of Mexico's Security Landscape One Year On

The Wilson Center's Mexico Institute was pleased to host its eighth annual Mexican security review. The forum examined the pressing security challenges Mexico faces, such as the record number of homicides in 2019, and how it plans to respond. Other topics covered included efforts to fight corruption and impunity; trends in security and migration enforcement on Mexico's southern border; the status of U.S.-Mexico security cooperation; and how illegal drug markets are evolving in Mexico and the United States.

Fighting Terror in the Tri-Border Area

Q&A with Alison August Treppel
Executive secretary of the Organization of American States’s Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE)


The Northern Northern Border: Homeland Security Priorities in the Arctic: Mike Sfraga Testifies Before the Committee on Homeland Security

Polar Institute Director Mike Sfraga testified before the House Homeland Subcommittee on Transportation & Maritime Security.

The testimonies of all the witnesses can be downloaded here>>> 


Border Security and Counter-Narcotics

Cross-border criminal activity fueled by illegal drugs is causing great damage in both Mexico and the United States.  The two governments need to prioritize forging an agreed strategy and action agenda to tackle this serious problem.  They should establish a permanent cabinet-level group to oversee bilateral counter-narcotics and cross-border crime cooperation and to monitor progress.

'Countering the Global Narcotics Epidemic – The United States’ Counternarcotics Strategy': Earl Anthony Wayne Testifies before the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control


Download the document below for full version of testimony.

Sixth Annual Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border Conference

The Wilson Center's Mexico Institute and the Border Trade Alliance held the sixth annual high-level "Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border" conference, which focused on improving border management in order to strengthen the competitiveness of both the United States and Mexico. Topics covered at the conference included USMCA (the renegotiated NAFTA), strengthening security and efficiency at border ports of entry, the impact of tariffs and reduced staffing on trade, and growing crossborder cooperation for regional economic development.

Fight Cross-Border Crime with Collaboration, Not Threats

The United States and Mexico face a powerful onslaught of criminal activity damaging both countries. They need to step up cooperation now. U.S. threats are counterproductive.