New research will examine the impact of enhanced technology on the US-Mexico border in line with US goals to create more secure and efficient borders

Washington DC – June 3, 2022 – The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center today announced a new partnership with the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Tijuana to enhance security and economic growth in the United States and Mexico. This year-long partnership will include an economic impact study of improved US-Mexico border management practices and tools, among other impact analyses about the security and environmental impacts of these technologies.

“As companies look at nearshoring and as global supply chains are being reconfigured to adjust to new commercial and geopolitical realities, the US-Mexico border is quickly becoming all the more critical for the economic competitiveness of both countries. With new technologies deployed, a more efficient, transformed border has the power to expedite legitimate trade and travel and reduce commercial bottlenecks while simultaneously improving border security. This new partnership will provide timely insights on steps that can be taken to improve the lives of millions along the border and beyond,” said Jason Marczak, Senior Director at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

Mexico’s role as the United States’ largest trading partner, with over $661 billion in total trade between the countries in 2021, makes safe and efficient borders a shared priority for both nations. President Joseph R. Biden reinforced the importance of secure borders with increased detection and screening capabilities during his first State of the Union address. The high volume of movement of goods and people at the border, combined with current inefficiencies in border management practices, often leads to extensive wait times and the over-use of scarce management resources. The introduction of new technology-focused border management practices could positively impact the lives of millions of people in the United States and Mexico by creating safer and more efficient borders. This project will detail the economic, security, and environmental benefits that would stem from investing in a 21st century US-Mexico border.

“We are two nations with a shared future. If we want that future to be brighter, we need to modernize our border infrastructure, strengthen our cooperation on border security, and ensure the more efficient flow of goods, services, and lawful travelers,” said Ambassador Ken Salazar, United States Ambassador to Mexico.

In addition to the economic impact study, the Atlantic Council, the Hunt Institute, and COLEF will produce three short publications specifically focused on foresight, security, and the environment. The consortium will also host a series of consensus-building activities such as roundtables, consultations, and focus groups with stakeholders from the public, private, and civil society sectors in the United States and Mexico.

“As a research organization within UTEP, the Hunt Institute is intimately aware of both the economic possibilities of binational cooperation and the potential impediments to that cooperation posed by border security. Border management has direct economic impacts on national economies, not just within border communities. The Hunt Institute is excited to collaborate with the Atlantic Council and COLEF to generate widespread support for the economic benefits of enhanced screening procedures at the US-Mexico border,” said Mayra Maldonado, Executive Director of the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at the University of Texas at El Paso.

The project will deliver new insights into the economic, security, and environmental impacts of enhancing detection and screening capabilities at the US-Mexico border to inform policy decisions that will determine the shared future of our countries for years to come.

“The commercial partnership between Mexico and the United States takes place within a very competitive economic regional framework. As we look to the future, the economic performance of both countries will be strengthened as more sectors participate in cross-border trade and as the benefits of US-Mexico commerce reach further into all parts of Mexico, in addition to northern border areas,” said Dr. Edgar David Gaytán Alfaro, Coordinator of the Master’s Program in Applied Economics and researcher in the Economic Studies Department at Colegio de la Frontera Norte.

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The Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center broadens understanding of regional transformations and delivers constructive, results-oriented solutions to inform how the public and private sectors can advance hemispheric prosperity.