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Governor Bill Richardson Concludes Successful Border Governors Conference

Press Release

Location: Santa Fe, NM

Governor Bill Richardson concluded a successful Border Governors Conference
by forging agreements on border security, border infrastructure, economic development and energy.

"When Arizona passed its law, which most of us oppose, I saw an opportunity -- an opportunity to bring people together," Governor Richardson said. "I organized this conference here in Santa Fe to discuss our differences -- not to pass laws that further divide people. This is an opportunity to move forward in a productive way -- as a region.

"I think we got what we came for. We are all governors who deal with these issues on a daily basis. It's up to us to tackle the issues and find ways to overcome obstacles."


The Border Governors Conference is leadership and visionary thinking to promote a sustainable and competitive transborder region having as its foundations; cooperation, complementarities, synergies, and shared responsibilities. This organization of state governments is at a critical
juncture where strategic key actions can re-launch and re-tool border development and put the region on the forefront of U.S-Mexico bilateral relations. It is for this reason that this Interim Meeting was held today, the 20th of September, in the City of Santa Fe, in the great State of New Mexico.

Attached to this Joint Statement are the policy recommendations discussed by the Governors within the context of the following areas:

Border Security
The US and Mexican Border Governors believe that the common security of both nations, ten states, and 15 million border residents is affected by a lack of coordination, information exchange, and joint activities. The security related efforts of the U.S. and Mexican Federal governments should follow the paradigm of mutual responsibility. The Border Governors will support all efforts to prevent cross-border violence and reduce tension along the border. The Border Governors recognize the cost and difficulty of solely relying on manpower to secure the border.

The Border Governors support the efforts of both governments to reinforce security on both sides of the border as a component of the binational effort to protect the rights of all individuals while at the same time supporting the development of new technologies that will allow the implementation of security measures to be more efficient and cost-effective. The Border Governors recognize that an important component in the fight against organized crime is the prevention of weapon trafficking from the U.S. into Mexico and appreciate the new MOU that will expand Mexican authorities' access to eTrace, and pledge to use eTrace information to increase prosecutions of arms traffickers.

The Border Governors applaud Secretary Janet Napolitano for the additional funding to Operation Stonegarden creating the potential for additional federal-state and cross-border collaboration to combat border crime.

The border governors support the appropriate measures to fight money laundering in accord with formal commercial activates.

The Border Governors believe that there is a need to address cross-border natural disaster relief and emergency response preparedness. An effective solution must be found to help those in the border region plagued by natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and wildfires.

The Border Governors recognize the need for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States at the federal level; for establishing a comprehensive and orderly repatriation process based on the fundamental premise of respecting the human dignity and human rights of individuals being repatriated. They further strongly support voluntary aerial repatriation under Mexico's successful Federal Repatriation program.

Border Infrastructure and Economic Development
The Border Governors recognize that the ports of entry between the United States and Mexico are the frontlines for border security and the flow of one billion dollars per day of binational commerce. Proper planning and funding are critical elements to their success.

The Border Governors believe that trade is impeded, air quality affected, and bi-national communities deteriorate due to long wait times at ports of entry

The Border Governors value the innovative concepts recently proposed in the 21st Century Border Management Joint Presidential Declaration, for promoting dynamic action by both federal governments in the implementing the Declaration and the opportunity for discussion with the newly created 21st Century Management Executive Steering Committee

Therefore, the Border Governors are in favor of increasing capacity at Border crossings to improve the flow of people and goods, mainly by means of better use of the installed capacity, such as: expanding schedules, installing technology, assigning more staff to booths, more flexible criteria, tandem booths, etc., as well as continuing with the construction of new ports of
entry, ensuring that the Federal government budgets and timelines are the same.

In regards to Border Infrastructure and Economic Development, the Border Governors declare themselves in favor of creating inland Ports of Entry that meet both countries' requirements and regulations, such that international trade is not stopped at the border and that safe corridors are created.

Furthermore, the Governors feel that the unique growth of border cities require special treatment, as well as the creation of additional employment and infrastructure, and are committed to promote -- before their respective Congresses -- the allocation of economic resources for the creation of a Border Fund aimed at infrastructure and social development in every sense, thus generating economic development and jobs for the border region.

The Border Governors recognize that renewable energy and improving energy-use efficiency represents a smart means of reducing carbon emissions, creating jobs and lowering energy costs for consumers. It also represents a significant opportunity for stimulating innovation, enabling
cross-border energy transmission, and the conservation of energy.

The Border Governors encourage all Border States and both federal governments to evaluate border wide opportunities and implement regulatory changes that will encourage renewable energy trade and cross-border transmission.

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