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Sires-Rooney Provision to Reduce Violent Crime in Mexico Passes the House of Representatives

Dec 9, 2020
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL), Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, released the following statement after a provision they authored requiring a report to Congress about current and future assistance to Mexican security forces was included in the joint explanatory statement for H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021:

“At a time when homicide rates in Mexico have reached record highs, we must critically examine our cooperation with the Mexican authorities to ensure U.S. security assistance achieves real results. We believe that Mexico and the United States have a shared responsibility to reduce violent crime and improve quality of life for those living on both sides of our border. For this reason, we have long advocated for robust U.S. assistance to help Mexico strengthen its democratic institutions, combat corruption, defend human rights, and improve security. But we also believe we must perpetually reassess our assistance strategy and its alignment with the Mexican government’s priorities to identify ways to improve our approach. This provision will help us do just that.”

The full language requiring the report, from the 2021 NDAA joint explanatory statement, is below:

The conferees direct the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State, not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, to jointly submit to the congressional defense committees, the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives a comprehensive assessment of ongoing support and a strategy for future cooperation between the United States Government and the Mexican security forces, including the Mexican National Guard, Federal, State, and municipal law enforcement. The report should include, at a minimum, the following:

     (1) A strategy and timeline for assistance to Mexican security forces, including the amounts of assistance, any defense articles, and training to be provided to each of the Mexican security forces;

     (2) A description of the transfer of U.S.-supported equipment, if any, from the Federal Police and Armed Forces to the National Guard;

     (3) Department of Defense and Department of State plans for all U.S. training for Mexican security forces, including training in human rights, proper use of force, de-escalation, investigation and evidence-gathering, community relations, and anti-corruption; and

     (4) An assessment of the National Guard’s adherence to human rights standards to date, including its progress toward the adoption of measures to ensure accountability for human rights violations and the development of a human rights training curriculum. The report may be submitted in classified form with an unclassified summary.