MEXICO CITY (Border Report) — Mexico’s lower house of Congress just approved a measure that strips immunity and other benefits from U.S. agents working in Mexico.
This is seen as a huge blow to Drug Enforcement Agency, members of the FBI and others south of the border who work against drug cartels and organized crime.
Last week, United States Attorney General William Barr criticized a similar bill being proposed by Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador saying it would make “US-Mexico cooperation more difficult.”
Barr went on to say such a move would only benefit drug cartels.
The proposal, supported by López Obrador, forces DEA agents and other American intelligence officers to turn over all information they gather to Mexican officials.
It is customary that the chief DEA agent in any country has full diplomatic immunity. Other agents have limited or technical immunity. The bill does away with all immunity.
Mike Vigil, the DEA’s former chief of international operations, says information gathered is “going to be leaked, it’s going to compromise agents, it’s going to compromise informants.”
“It’s just going to make a burdensome system,” Vigil said. “It is going to hinder bilateral operations, it is going to hinder bilateral exchange of information. This is going to be much more detrimental to Mexico than to the United States.”
Mexico’s senate approved a similar measure last week. President Lopez Obrador is expected to sign the bill in the near future.
The move is seen as a huge test for Joe Biden’s administration and his relationship with Mexico.