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21 April 2003

Ridge to Meet With Secretary Santiago Creel of Mexico

(Will discuss progress from "Smart Border" accord) (540)

Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge will travel to San Diego,
California, on April 23 to meet with his Mexican counterpart,
Secretary Santiago Creel, to discuss progress stemming from the "Smart
Border" accord signed by Mexico and the United States in 2002.

According to a press release issued April 21 by the Department of
Homeland Security, the two secretaries will also hold meetings between
the two delegations of their respective countries "to discuss further
initiatives and identify the next steps" that Mexico and the United
States can take to assure that the secure and efficient flow of people
and commerce across the shared U.S.-Mexico border will continue amidst
heightened security.

Following is the text of the press release, with further details:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2003

SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY TOM RIDGE TO TRAVEL TO CALIFORNIA FROM
APRIL 23-25 TO MEET WITH SECRETARY SANTIAGO CREEL OF MEXICO AND TO
VISIT STATE, LOCAL AND PRIVATE-SECTOR OFFICIALS ABOUT HOMELAND
SECURITY IN CALIFORNIA

Secretary Ridge will travel to San Diego, California, on Wednesday,
April 23, to meet with his Mexican counterpart, Secretary Creel, to
discuss progress from the "Smart Border" accord that was signed just
over a year ago. In addition, the Secretaries will hold bilateral
meetings between the two delegations to discuss further initiatives
and identify the next steps that our countries can take to assure that
the secure and efficient flow of people and commerce across our shared
border continues amongst heightened security. Also, on Wednesday,
Secretary Ridge will have a private meeting with the Mayor of San
Diego, Dick Murphy, and hold a roundtable with Department of Homeland
Security employees in the San Diego area.

On Thursday, April 24, the Secretary Ridge and Secretary Creel will
view how the accord is being implemented first-hand at the busiest
border-crossing point in the world, San Ysidro, and also at the Otay
Mesa border-crossing, a key commercial point between our two
countries. After the visit, the Secretaries will hold a press
conference.

Following the press conference, Secretary Ridge will travel to Los
Angeles, California, where he will hold private meetings with state
and local officials including Governor Gray Davis and Congressman
Chris Cox. Secretary Ridge will then make remarks to leaders and
members of the state and local law enforcement, including Los Angeles
County Sheriff Leroy Baca and members of the first responder
community. Following his speech, Secretary Ridge and Congresswoman
Jane Harman will participate in a tour and a briefing on operations at
the Terrorism Early Warning Group in Los Angeles.

On Friday, April 25, Secretary Ridge will make remarks and welcome new
immigrants at a Naturalization ceremony to be held for approximately
4,000 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Following the ceremony,
Secretary Ridge will participate in a press conference. Before leaving
Los Angeles, Secretary Ridge will tour the Los Angeles International
Airport with Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn to discuss security measures
and view their implementation first-hand before returning to
Washington, D.C., Friday night.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)