Border Liaison Mechanism
History of the Border Liaison Mechanism
The Border Liaison Mechanism (BLM) is a local binational meeting that U.S. and Mexican consuls convene to address cross-border issues. The flexible format allows the consuls to include almost any topic that requires formal binational discussion. The BLMs came into existence in 1993 as the result of a bilateral agreement between the United States and Mexico. The agreement called for the formation of cross-border meetings of federal, state, and local authorities organized and chaired by U.S. and Mexican consuls. The meetings were to be alternately held on the American and Mexican side, with each consul responsible for inviting his or her compatriots to the meeting. The consuls were also made responsible for jointly determining the agendas of the meetings.
The BLM, in particular, provides a valuable forum for local administrative and law enforcement officials on both sides of the border to use to improve border liaison and cooperation. It includes U.S. and Mexican consuls, civic leaders, inspection agency representatives, non-government and community organizations and law enforcement contacts who meet to share information and discuss problems.
BLMs include both regularly-scheduled meetings and emergency meetings in the event of any border incident. The meetings address a wide array of topics, from civil rights of U.S. and Mexican citizens, ways of enhancing law enforcement cooperation in trans-border crime, and child custody issues. Emergency meetings have dealt with problems arising from bridge blockades and incidences of violence.
The rationale behind the decision to create BLMs was the belief that they would enhance cross-border communication, ensure that unique local issues would not be overlooked by the two governments, and a hope that U.S. and Mexican federal, state, and local officials would use the BLMs to address local issues directly without direct intervention from the two capitals.
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