U.S.-Mexican pact will strengthen border IT, DHS officials say

The Homeland Security Department and Mexican authorities have agreed on border safety and security measures that will expand the role of systems in processing travelers and goods that move between the two countries.

'We are dedicated to one goal: to protect the American and Mexican people from the threat of terrorism,' Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge said following a meeting with Mexican Interior secretary Santiago Creel.

The new agreement, embodied in an action plan for border cooperation and a memorandum of understanding on repatriation, would expand border systems in four ways:

  • The Secure Electronic Network for Traveler's Rapid Inspection commuter lanes would grow to eight new lanes at six land ports this year.

  • Five ports of entry would use Free and Secure Trade lanes for expedited goods transit.

  • All ports in coming months will install Border Crossing Card readers for vehicles and pedestrians.

  • A joint working group that has met twice already will continue to coordinate the rollout of the new entry-exit system, the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program.

  • Ridge on Friday met with Mexican President Vicente Fox after meeting Thursday with Mexican cabinet ministers and governors of Mexican border states.

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