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Laredo Morning Times

Border conference eyes safety issues

Times staff writer
June 17, 2000

While looking to provide safety to the border region, the Laredo and Nuevo Laredo joint liaison on Friday strongly condemned any promotion of violence against migrants and authorities. The delegation met to discuss measures to improve public safety along the Laredo and Nuevo Laredo border. Much of the discussion centered on the recent incidents along the border, which have created tension in other sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Delegation members agreed to look at specific actions in order to improve communication between government agencies in efforts to combat crime and raise the level of public safety of the people who live and travel along the region. Mexican Consul Daniel Hernandez explained that authorities have developed a map system to be used in order to respond quickly and effectively to any incidents to improve the safety of the community.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief John Montoya said such maps will help because in the past while working with Mexican authorities each side had different names for the same locations, making it very difficult to respond quickly to any situation. "What we have done is shared maps of the border area, and now have the same terms, which will make it easier to respond," Montoya said.

Montoya said added safety measures along the border will not encourage more migration north. He said each country has its own sovereign right to regulate immigration. "The other issue is that those persons that choose to go from one side to the other also have an expectation of being safe," said Montoya.

The Border Patrol chief added that the agency was making a concentrated effort to discourage individuals from entering illegally. At the same time Mexico was undertaking educational programs to advise the public of the dangers along the border. "Again I don't think that because we are concentrating on the safety that is going to encourage additional immigration," Montoya said.

The agencies that are represented at the conference have the issue of respect and understanding of what we are trying to do, he added. The conference discussion was also centered on the death of illegal immigrants, 26 of which have been recorded in Webb and Zapata counties.

The delegation agreed to reinforce cooperation in personnel training on rescue techniques to be applied both at the river and on the desert areas.

(Staff writer Robert Garcia can be reached at 728-2565 or by e-mail at