This afternoon U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, along with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas, met in Washington, D.C. with Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, David Lametti and Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino, to reestablish the Cross-Border Crime Forum (CBCF).
Today’s meeting marked the first principal-level meeting of the CBCF in more than a decade and focused upon the key law enforcement issues highlighted in the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, a blueprint announced in February 2021 by President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau to guide a renewed U.S.-Canada partnership.
The CBCF was first launched in April 1997 just as Attorney General Garland’s last tour at the Justice Department was coming to a close. For nearly 25 years, the CBCF served as the principal forum for bilateral law enforcement cooperation between the United States and Canada. Under the leadership of the Attorney General, the Secretary of DHS, the Canadian Minister of Public Safety, and the Canadian Minister and Attorney General of the Department of Justice, the reestablished CBCF brings together senior law enforcement officials and prosecutors to address a number of cross-border issues.
“The Justice Department has no higher priority than keeping the American people safe,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Our ability to fulfill that obligation depends upon our cooperation with trusted law enforcement agencies both here at home and around the world. Canada is our indispensable friend and partner in that effort. By reestablishing the United States-Canada Cross-Border Crime Forum, we are deepening cooperation on a number of law enforcement challenges — from combatting cybercrime to violent crime and from disrupting terrorist plots and human trafficking. I look forward to continuing to work with our Canadian law enforcement partners in advancing our shared interests and upholding our shared values.”
During today’s constructive dialogue, the leaders discussed enhancing collaboration to counter cybercrime, including by stepping up joint efforts to counter ransomware attacks, and to accelerate our joint efforts to freeze and seize key assets belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarchs worldwide. The leaders also discussed their shared commitment to strengthening information sharing in order to counter domestic and foreign terrorism; combat human trafficking and smuggling threats across North America; and disrupt gun trafficking and smuggling.
In addition, the leaders discussed their shared commitment to increasing access to justice for all, including by tackling racial inequality and discrimination in criminal justice systems.
“As the only agency in our federal government that bears the name of a value, the Justice Department has a unique mission both here at home and around the world,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who joined Attorney General Garland for the bilateral talks on access to justice. “Justice exists only if it is accessible to all. I am grateful for the close and deepening cooperation between the Department’s Office for Access to Justice and Canada’s Access to Justice Secretariat to advance innovative effective strategies to expand equal access to justice for all.”
Alongside Secretary Mayorkas and Associate Attorney General Gupta, the Attorney General was joined by several senior Justice Department officials, including Assistant Attorney General Matt Olsen of the National Security Division.