The City Council approved a
resolution during its last regular meeting
authorizing an application for the Preserve
America Community Designation.
As a way to streamline that
process, the City is applying for Certified Local
Government status from the state and the Park
Service. According to State Historic Preservation
Office the certification is "a commitment by
the local government to participate in the
nations official historic preservation
partnership by working with the state and federal
government to preserve historic resources. The
CLG Program provides an opportunity to help local
governments integrate historic preservation
concerns with local planning decisions. The CLG
Program recognizes that the greatest legal power
to preserve lies with the local government."
The office says the primary
reason that municipalities and counties are
attracted to the CLG program is that 10% of the
States. Historic Preservation Fund (HPF)
allocation has to go to CLGs. This 10% is
distributed in the form of grants.
Border Patrol and
Make History at Arizona Border.
NOGALES, ARIZ. -- In a
politically sensitive operation at the
Arizona-Mexico border, U.S. Border Patrol agents
and Mexican federal police officers are training
together, sharing intelligence and coordinating
patrols for the first time.
The goal of the historic
partnership: a systematic joint attack on
northbound flows of drugs and migrants, and
southbound shipments of guns and cash. It is part
of a major, unannounced crackdown started in
recent months that involves hundreds of U.S. and
Mexican officers in the borders busiest
The initiative appears likely
to expand. Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano and Mexican Public Safety Secretary
Genaro García Luna will sign a declaration
Thursday in Mexico City agreeing to replicate the
experiment elsewhere. Eventually, officials say,
joint operations border-wide could lead to the
creation of a Mexican force serving as a
counterpart to the Border Patrol an agency
once regarded with nationalistic aversion in
"We are planting a seed of
bi-national cooperation that interests all of
us," Cmdr. Armando Treviño, who leads the
Mexican federal police contingent in the state of
Sonora, said Tuesday here in Nogales. "We
are fighting a common enemy. We are going to work
together like friends, like comrades, like
Political urgency drives both
sides. The Obama administration needs results on
border security in its uphill campaign for
immigration reform. Mexican President Felipe
Calderóns government wants progress in its
high-stakes war on drug mafias.
But the unprecedented effort
faces imposing obstacles: violent drug cartels,
long-standing Mexican reluctance to interfere
with illegal immigration into the United States
and a legacy of corruption that has scuttled past
"Theres so much
potential for corruption," said Jennifer
Allen, executive director of the Border Action
Network, a migrant advocate group in Arizona.
"It could be destined for failure. ... Right
now law enforcement in Mexico cannot compete with
the trafficking networks. It cant compete
with the money, the power."
In the 1990s, the Border Patrol
worked closely with Grupo Beta, an elite Mexican
police unit. After a promising start, the unit
faltered under allegations of wrongdoing and
functions today as an unarmed humanitarian
visit by Treviño, 69, was full of signs that
times are changing. The lean, white-haired,
retired army general has served for a year in the
federal preventive police, which conducts
street-level enforcement involving major crimes
and patrols highways and airports.
Treviño watched a training
session in which green-uniformed U.S. instructors
shouted directions as nine Mexican officers in
blue uniforms, goggles and helmets roared through
mud and water on all-terrain vehicles that the
Border Patrol uses to chase border-crossers.
Mexican officers, who undergo
U.S. background checks, also train in
close-quarters firearms techniques and medical
rescue skills. The Border Patrol plans to vet and
train several hundred Mexican federal officers
who also will learn behavioral analysis and ways
to detect contraband concealed in vehicles.
The center of the action is the
twin cities named Nogales.
The American town has a
population of 30,000 and a downtown dotted with
shuttered shops. The federal government is the
main employer. Economic woes have forced the city
to close three parks.
The Mexican Nogales has 10
times the population and sprawls across a
congested valley. It has historically been one of
the main routes for shipments of fruits and
vegetables going north, a route that is now
shared with the illicit flow of immigrants and
drugs. Although violence has not reached the
crisis levels of Tijuana or Ciudad Juarez,
upscale restaurants are often empty because of
fear of violence.
After lunch in the U.S.
Nogales, Treviño and his aide, Inspector Carlos
García, accompanied Border Patrol supervisors on
a rattling hours drive on a dirt mountain
road to inspect a base housing a dozen live-in
Border Patrol agents. Treviño plans to set up
two "mirror" bases for his officers
south of the U.S. outposts to pursue smugglers,
who use horses and ultra-light aircraft in the
As they drove, the men traded
stories about the dangers of the border. Border
Patrol supervisor Juventino Pacheco, who works as
a liaison to Mexican law enforcement, told of a
recent shooting attack in Nogales, Mexico, on a
municipal police commander and his family. The
commander suffered moderate wounds. A bullet
grazed the finger of his 8-year-old son. The
commander was hospitalized in Arizona for his
safety, and Border Patrol agents stationed at the
hospital described to Pacheco the boys
"His family was
traumatized, his big sisters were crying, but the
boy was totally calm," Pacheco said.
"Cold. And he knew exactly what happened. He
said: The bad guys shot at me, but it only
hit my finger. He was something."
García shook his head and
leaned forward to pat Treviño on the shoulder.
"We better take care of
that kid, chief," García chuckled.
"Hes got potential. Make sure he turns
out right and doesnt join the bad
The joint U.S.-Mexican
operations got under way here when a detachment
of Mexican federal police arrived in Sonora about
two months ago. They began communicating daily
with the Americans and responded to security
threats, disrupting smugglers hilltop
lookouts and breaking up rock-throwing gangs who
frequently clash with U.S. agents in melees that
have resulted in injuries, shootings and
"There has been a decrease
in rockings after their deployment," said Al
White, the Border Patrol agent-in-charge in
The Mexican forces also have
developed new southern barriers to smuggling
drugs and people. Treviño has deployed five
roving checkpoints in Sonora that have pushed
marijuana traffickers west from traditional land
routes to more complicated maritime smuggling on
the Sea of Cortez, officials say.
The Border Patrol will send two
liaison agents to Treviños headquarters in
Hermosillo; two Mexican officers will work at the
Border Patrol station in Nogales.
"The coordination will
make our pursuits more flexible so we can stop
criminals from ducking back and forth across the
border," Treviño told his U.S.
counterparts, adding that his agency is
"ready to seal the border to put an end to
this organized crime."
However, Treviño said that
while his officers aggressively pursue smugglers
and arrest non-Mexican migrants, they do not
intend to interfere with Mexicans crossing north
illegally if there is no evidence of other
criminal activity. The policy is dictated by
longtime Mexican political sensitivity and public
opinion, experts say.
Nonetheless, Mexican Ambassador
Arturo Sarukhan praised the Arizona-Sonora model
as part of an enforcement "sea change"
resulting from close government cooperation and
the increasing frequency of drug traffickers who
also smuggle people.
organizations have diversified their
portfolio," he said in an interview.
"As organized crime has developed its
footprint, we have to do so as well and combat
all kinds of trafficking."
Former U.S. immigration
commissioner Doris Meissner said Mexicos
new attitude toward border enforcement is a
result of Calderóns focus on public
safety, a post-9/11 awareness of terror threats
and the fading of the sometimes strident Mexican
nationalism of the past.
Meissner participated in a
conference last year at which former Mexican and
U.S. officials, academics and other experts
proposed reforms including the creation of a
Mexican force that would mirror the functions of
the U.S. Border Patrol a source of
inspiration for the Arizona experiment.
"The Mexican border force
idea was adopted without debate," recalled
Meissner, who is now a senior fellow at the
Migration Policy Institute in Washington. "I
was surprised that there was little objection
from Mexicans. I think everyone realizes that the
countries are linked.
kind of had a common sense feel to it."
Border Patrol officials say the
Mexican anti-smuggling effort helps disrupt the
flow of illegal migrants and is the most they can
hope for at the present time. Smugglers have
retaliated against the five-month U.S. crackdown,
dubbed the Alliance to Combat Transnational
Gunmen with automatic rifles
wounded a Border Patrol agent in December. A
month earlier, a hilltop sniper on Mexican turf
fired volleys at the U.S. port of entry, causing
havoc but no injuries. Officials suspect it was
payback for the seizure of $300,000 by U.S.
In addition to the more recent
cooperation with Mexico, U.S. border agencies
have deployed extra personnel in the Tucson
sector, which leads the southwest border in
arrests and marijuana busts.
They have begun concerted
scrutiny of southbound traffic and pedestrians, a
rare practice at the international line. The
checks have enabled inspectors to seize $2.2
million in smuggled cash and identify more than
3,000 illegal immigrants since October. Although
U.S. officers have seized only five weapons in
that period, Mexican customs inspectors found 41
assault rifles hidden in a vehicle a month ago.
The bolstered defenses have
caused an odd reverse scenario: Smugglers based
in Tucson and Phoenix occasionally try to smuggle
people and goods south into Mexico, officials
Meanwhile, the Sinaloa drug
cartel has launched an offensive to take control
of Nogales, Mexico, from the Beltran Leyva
cartel. January brought 40 killings in the city
of 300,000 and a spate of attacks on police
officials. There are fears that gangsters could
target the Border Patrols new Mexican
"Yes, it could increase
danger for us," said. Capt. Eduardo Peña, a
23-year veteran, after the training session.
"But we are not going to back down."
The cultural change reflected
by the joint operation seems profound. For years,
the Border Patrol had a negative image among many
Mexicans and Latinos, fed by movie screen
stereotypes of sadistic, racist agents. The
caricature obscured the reality that many U.S.
border agents are Latino and that the Border
Patrol has improved relationships with Mexican
consulates and migrant advocates.
But U.S. and Mexican officers
admit the alliance would have been hard to
imagine a few years ago. Not to mention the scene
Tuesday evening at the Border Patrol station: At
a ceremony where Mexican officers received
certificates for their training, Treviño
congratulated them in front of a U.S. flag and a
Mexican flag that Border Patrol agents borrowed
for his visit.
Peña said. "I was based in Tijuana 15 years
ago, and there were bad feuds between the federal
police and the Border Patrol. There was a bad
image, the old ugly image of the Border Patrol.
But now there is a new partnership. Good citizens
wont dislike this collaboration. Criminals
will dislike it."