Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law, today released records obtained under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce concerning the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.”
On March 23, 2005, heads of government Vincente Fox, George W. Bush, and Paul Martin launched the North American partnership at a meeting in Waco, Texas, with the expressed goal of “a safer, more prosperous North America.” According to the documents, the partnership’s “working groups” include government and business leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada, who are addressing a variety of topics, including movement of goods between countries, traveler security, energy, environment and health. Proponents of the partnership claim its purpose is to increase security and prosperity for all three nations through enhanced cooperation. Critics maintain the partnership will sacrifice U.S. sovereignty by establishing a “North American Union,” with open borders and a common currency.
The Commerce Department also provided substantial documentation concerning the North American Competitiveness Council. The council consists of 30 members, 10 each from the United States, Mexico and Canada. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council of the Americas “agreed to jointly lead the U.S. Secretariat.” Documents describing the North American Competitiveness Council’s launch, its recommendations, and meeting minutes were also uncovered by Judicial Watch’s FOIA request, which was filed on August 15, 2006.
The council’s recommendations to the North American “partnership” include advice on how to handle an international disease outbreak: “It is also essential that throughout a pandemic all borders and major roads remain open…” With respect to border enforcement, the council recommends that, “A reasonable grace period should be established at border crossings, during which time people lacking documents are educated about their options and allowed to pass.” The council also makes recommendations on energy issues such as the “…enhanced integration of the Mexican [electricity] grid with that of the United States.”
“Many Americans are interested in where this North American partnership process is going,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Given all that is at stake, the federal government has a responsibility to make sure this process is transparent and open to public scrutiny — so the release of these documents is an important step forward.”
The newly released documents include contact lists, meeting agenda and minutes, recommendations, fact sheets, speakers’ quotes, action items, and procedural guidelines. The records are available on the Judicial Watch Internet site: www.JudicialWatch.org.