United States, Mexico and Canada Join Forces to Improve Amber Alert System
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General (PGR) sponsored a Trinational Forum yesterday and today in Mexico City, bringing together Amber Alert Coordinators from Mexico, the United States and Canada. The forum aimed to create mechanisms for the international coordination of Amber Alerts in order to better respond to potential cross-border cases of missing children.
Opening the forum, Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the identification of missing children, noting that the Amber Alert program “breaks the barriers of communication, time and distance,” and highlighted that the “neutralization and disruption of criminal groups and their operations cannot depend on limits created by borders or national identities.”
The importance of the Amber Alert system also was recognized by U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in her remarks yesterday at the annual National Missing Children’s Day Ceremony in Washington, D.C., where she noted the Trinational Event in Mexico City and said, “and our commitment to rescuing missing children does not stop at the border. I am proud to say that our Department of Justice has collaborated with the Attorney General of Mexico on the development of Mexico’s AMBER Alert System, which has already resulted in the rescue of hundreds of Mexican children.”
OPDAT Senior Resident Legal Advisor Ray Gattinella told Amber Alert coordinators in Mexico City, “we currently have 75 open abduction cases from the United States to Mexico and 183 open cases from Mexico to the United States. So it makes sense that our countries would continue the collaboration on Amber Alert we started four years ago and begin coordinating on potential cross-border and interstate missing children cases.”
OPDAT assisted PGR in the creation and implementation of Amber Alert Mexico based on the U.S. program in May 2012. Since that time, Amber Alert has led to the rescue of over 350 children in Mexico. The program has also become a central piece of OPDAT’s programming in Mexico under the Merida Initiative. The United States immensely values the cooperation and collaboration from both Mexico and Canada in this critical area.