Follow Up to March 15 Post: “Our Two-Pesos: Today’s Travel Warning for Mexico…”
Just a quick update to our Opinion/Analysis from last Monday, about the change in the status of the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory — downgrading (again, in essence) the Mexico Travel Alert to a more ominous Travel Warning. It was our opinion that State Department rules require a Travel Warning to be issued when consular employees or their families are authorized to depart a country, and this was at the heart of the change from Alert to Warning. We cited a section of the Consular Affairs Manual: “[a] Travel Warning must be issued whenever a post goes to authorized or ordered departure status.”
Notably, most media missed this detail, and attributed the change to purely security issues. Well…just to underscore the value of analysis and research — here’s an excerpt from the March 15 U.S. State Dept. Daily Press Briefing (which we only saw for the first time today, mind you [Mar. 18]):
MR. CROWLEY: Oh, the authorized departure was something that had – the decision had already been made and was about to be announced. Obviously, we’ve looked at the increased risk and criminality associated with – along the northern border between Mexico and the United States and had made that decision to offer – to authorize dependents to come back to the United States if they choose. I think the population is just over a hundred that would be potentially affected by this. As far as I know, it was just announced yesterday. I can’t say at this point how many have taken advantage of –
QUESTION: When was the decision made?
MR. CROWLEY: It was made last week.
QUESTION: And why –
MR. CROWLEY: Based on an assessment by diplomatic security about the conditions along the northern border.
QUESTION: Well, when last week?
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I learned about it, I believe, on Friday.
QUESTION: Well, why was it not announced until Sunday?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think we were going to announce it as part of our revision of the travel advisory.
So….based on the above comments, the State Department was already planning on issuing a Travel Warning given that they had to as part of the authorized departure procedure. It wasn’t specifically related to any changes in security, nor to the unforgiveable criminal incidents and loss of life last Saturday in Ciudad Juarez.
Crossborder Group will continue to offer our analysis and insights – about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Our goal is always to use data and informed insights to help make better decisions, and promote a better understanding of Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border region.