21st Century Border Initiative

In April of 2010 the governments of Mexico and the United States issued a Declaration of the 21st Century Border. This declaration stated an understanding that: ‘’a joint and collaborative administration of their common border is critical to transforming management of the border to enhance security and efficiency.’’

The 21st Century Border Initiative of NDN/NPI has been designed to support, promote and develop this important vision for how our two countries manage our common border region. We have done this by facilitating events, papers, essays and creating a network of like minded individuals both inside and outside the beltway.

It is the core belief of this initiative that the bi-lateral relationship between the United States and Mexico is one of the United State’s most important relationships in the world. By the end of this year Mexico is set to be the United State’s second largest trading partner with more than a billion dollars in goods a day moving between our countries. The US domestic population is now 10 percent of Mexican descent, making our cultural, economic and familial ties extensive and deepening.

Through a new and better strategy, more resources and greater cooperation with our Mexican partners, the border region is much safer today. Crime is down, illegal migration has slowed, seizures of illegal drugs, guns and bulk cash has soared, all while trade and legal border crossings have increased. Despite the very real challenge of the cartel violence, the US side of the border has seen great progress in recent years. And while there has been great success in recent years in bringing about a better border region, of course much more must be done.

Below, please find some key materials and highlights from our past work on the 21st Century Border Initiative. 

NDN Backgrounder: The Border Is Safer, Immigration System Is Better For a history of our work and salient news from the current immigration debate check out our website, 21border.com. Below please find a collection of NDN resources on the release of the Senate and White House immigration proposals:

Simon's Statement - The U.S. Border Strategy Is Working

Simon outlines how the U.S. border strategy is working: Crime along the border is down,deportations of criminal aliens has increased, the flow of unauthorized immigrants has dropped as has the domestic population of undocumented immigrants in the United States.   There has been little to no spillover from the gang-related violence in Mexico into the United States, and seizures of narcotics into the country and bulk cash leaving the country have increased.As a result of this new and deeper partnership between our countries the American side of our common border is clearly safer today. 

President Barack Obama: Building A 21st Century Immigration System

In this speech, President Obama forcefully articulates the progress made in creating a 21st Century Border and connects it back to the broader struggle to reform our nations broken immigration system.

Video: Building a 21st Century Immigration System

Transcript: Remarks by the President on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in El Paso, Texas

NDN/NPI's 21st Century Border You Tube Page

For months, members of NDN/NPI's 21st Century Border Initiative have been busy cultivating a network of stakeholders throughout the Southwest and capturing their thoughts about the state of the U.S. - Mexican border region. You can watch them and other content on our new You Tube page.

Arturo Sarukhan & Alan Bersin Address on a 21st Century Border

Our inaugural 21st Century Border Project event was held over a year ago, and featured CPB Commissioner Alan Bersin and the Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan discussing the merits of the United States and Mexico working together to create a true 21st century border.

Video: Arturo Sarukhan & Alan Bersin Address NDN/NPI on a 21st Century Border

Transcript: Arturo Sarukhan & Alan Bersin Address NDN/NPI on a 21st Century Border

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Progress Made Along U.S. Mexican Border

NDN/NPI hosted a key note speech from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano where she outlined the positive progress made along the Southwest Border.

Video: Napolitano Speech Details Progress Made Along US-Mexican Border

Department of Homeland Security Panel Discuss Progress on 21st Century Border

A panel of senior DHS officials discuss progress made along the 21st Century Border.

Video:  Distinguished Panel Discuss Progress on 21st Century Border

A Mayor's Perspective on the U.S. - Mexico Border

Chappell Lawson, associate professor of politics at MIT and Mayor of Nogales, AZ Arturo Garino talk about the perception, the reality and the positive gains in safety along the southwest border. 

How a 21st Century Border is Essential to Prosperity in Both the U.S. and Mexico

Maria Luisa O’Connell, Senior Advisor for Trade and Public Relations Office of the Commissioner US Customs and Border Protection, led a roundtable panel discussion on how the border between Mexico and the United States is an economic benefit for the country as whole

NDN Report: The Governments Strategy on The Border Is Working

After years of investment by the federal government along the border between the United States and Mexico there has been significant progress in creating a more harmonious region.

Key Materials:

21st Century Border Declaration by The Government Of The United States and Mexico  -  This intermestic agreement pledges to strengthen cooperation between Mexico and the United States by enhancing the economic competitiveness by expediting lawful trade, while preventing the transit of illegal merchandise between their two countries, facilitating lawful travel in a manner that also prevents the illegal movement of people between our two countries.

Comexi Report Managing the United States-Mexico Border: Cooperative Solutions to Common Challenges:  Under the auspices of the Pacific Council for International Policy (PCIP) and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI), thirty distinguished businessmen, civic leaders, and former government officials from Mexico and the United States committed themselves to devising ways to improve management of our common border.

Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano: Making The Border More Secure":  This landmark speech by Secretary Napolitano encapsulates all of the work the Department of Homeland Security and Mexico have done on the border while also charting a path forward on what the future of the Border looks like. University of Texas at El Paso A Safe on: Secure Border Zone, Additional Steps and Reforms,  Southwest Border Results, Interior Enforcement and the Future of Border Security.


Simon Rosenberg: President, NDN/NPI

Alicia Menendez: Senior Advisor, NDN/NPI

Jake Braun: Director, 21st Century Border Initiative

Kristian Ramos: Director of Policy, 21st Century Border Initiative


For all press inquiries please contact Kristian Ramos at kramos@ndn.org

For all booking inquiries please contact Alicia Menendez at alicia@ndn.org

Recent Work

Kristian Ramos
Friday, December 9, 2011

The New Policy Institute’s 21st Century Border Initiative released a major new report researched by The North American Center For Transborder Studies NACTS) at Arizona State University, “Realizing the Value of our Cross Border Trade with Mexico.”