SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Wearing his customary cowboy boots and hat, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar paid a visit to the border barrier between San Diego and Tijuana, where he toured an old drug tunnel discovered years ago.
The tunnel, one of almost 90 to be found between San Diego and Tijuana since 2009, had a lighting system, ventilation, and rails to transport drugs, weapons, money and even migrants, according to agents familiar with it when it was discovered.
Salazar stood above it to talk about joint efforts between Mexico and the United States to improve border security.
He was asked about immigration and the tens of thousands of migrants waiting to cross the border to seek asylum.
“The way we have dealt with migration historically between the United States and Mexico has not worked so we need to do something that’s different,” said Salazar. “This is a very difficult and complex issue, migration, we’ve never seen anything like this before where the migrant flows that are coming from all over the world have dramatically changed.”
Salazar was also asked about the flow of drugs into the U.S. from Mexico, specifically the deadly opioid fentanyl. But he deferred all questions about narcotics to Assistant Secretary of State for Narcotics Todd Robinson.
“It’s an evil drug and we’re doing everything we can to stop it at the border,” said Robinson. “We have to be realistic, we have to understand what is it in our society that makes people turn to these drugs.”
Robinson insisted both Mexico and the United States are working together to stop illegal narcotics from getting to the U.S.
When asked about Mexico President Andres López Obrador’s decision to evict the Drug Enforcement Agency from its aerial facility at an airport near Mexico City, Robinson said “good work is still taking place.”
“We will find ways to work together, we are finding ways,” said Robinson. “Administrations change on both sides, but our teams are committed to working and making sure we safeguard our communities on both sides of the border.”
After spending part of the morning along the border barrier, both Robinson and Salazar left for Tijuana along with other U.S. and Mexican government representatives to attend a Strategic Border Infrastructure Forum.