In his second trip to Mexico as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary, John Kelly stressed cooperation between nations Friday to combat criminal activity on both sides of the border.
“We recognize that our prosperity and security are intertwined, and that criminal networks grow in influence and power when our two countries do not work together,” Kelly said. “As a practical matter, that means looking towards new agreements where we can share information, training, infrastructure, and planning resources.”
Kelly’s primary focus was the illegal drug trade between Mexico and the United States, having spent Thursday in southwest Mexico speaking with troops about eradicating Mexican poppy fields.
“The United States lost 60,000 people to drug overdoses just last year, and the toll in Mexico among citizens and law enforcement agents and officers has been very high,” he said. “I acknowledged to my counterparts that America’s insatiableappetite for drugs is the cause of much of the turmoil on their side of the border.”
It’s a serious problem that continues for Mexican authorities. Since the country’s drug war began in 2006, more than 200,000 have been murdered. And the Trump administration is wary of the violence pouring over the border.
Earlier in the week, Kelly met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and other Mexican officials to discuss a host of issues between the countries, including immigration, trade, drug trafficking and organized crime.
While Kelly didn’t discuss the issue of a border wall in his remarks, the topic emerged at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, the same day. Sitting next to Nieto on Friday as reporters shouted questions to the two leaders, President Trump reportedly answered “absolutely” when asked if Mexico would still pay for the wall.