Mexican President Honors U.S. Customs and Border Chief with 'International Merit Award'

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | August 25, 2014 | 3:21 PM EDT

The commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has received an "International Merit Award" from Mexican President Pena Nieto.

"It is an honor to receive this award in recognition of our partnership," said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, who received the award last week after his visit to the Mexico-Guatamala border region.

Commissioner Kerlikowske met with Undersecretary for North American Affairs, Dr. Sergio Alcocer, at the Secretariat of Foreign Relations (SRE) to discuss topics related to reducing incidences of border violence and creating a joint working group to address related themes.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is developing a program to provide border enforcement training and equipment to Mexico's new Gendarmerie Division. Training is expected to begin in January. It will be funded by the joint U.S.-Mexico Merida Initiative.

"Mexico's commitment to security and the creation of the Gendarmerie Division will not only enhance relations at the U.S.-Mexico border, it will enhance partnerships at all levels of government between the two countries," Kerlikowski said.

The 400-person Gendarmerie Division will assist in combating crime and increasing safety on the U.S.-Mexico border.