McAllen, Texas — Once the caravan hype fades away, it’s law enforcement at the local, state and federal level that are left with ensuring that the border remains secure. But much of that depends on our neighbors to the south.
Behind the recent display of military might along the border to fend off a caravan of migrants or scare away cartels is a more subtle and quiet effort taking place in McAllen, Texas to bridge the gap in border security.
Local, state and federal U.S. law enforcement representatives invited their Mexican counterparts for the second consecutive year to partake in a series of training exercises.
“Passport and visa fraud. We’re doing a little ‘care under fire’, we’re showing them some of our evidence response techniques, among other things,” said FBI McAllen Assistant Special Agent-in-charge Stephen Kam.
In other words, helping scratch each other’s backs.
“We both benefit from the fact that if they’re safer, then we’re safer,” said McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez.
For the next three days, 26 Mexican law enforcement officers will undergo training in hopes of not only improving their work, but also establishing trusted relationships.
It’s a unifying message McAllen’s mayor Jim Darling has tried to push over the years, fighting against what he said is a bad reputation of the border created in Washington.
“You just have to keep that message going because it seems like every time we achieve something, something else happens; the caravan and now the troops are here. But it’s a safe area,” said Darling.
“Life goes on, regardless of the rhetoric.”
While U.S. officials boasted about the importance of these partnerships, Mexicans on the other hand, were more discreet about their participation as they avoided speaking to the media. After all, it’s their own security they must ensure before they can extend it to their people and communities along the border.