(CNN) - Top Obama administration officials were in Albuquerque on Friday to announce new efforts to combat the flow of illegal drugs from Mexico.
The White House released a summary of its National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy, aimed at not only stemming the trafficking of illegal narcotics, but also slowing the flow of cash and illegal firearms into Mexico.
The plan involves increased intelligence and enhanced technology. It also includes "targeted financial sanctions to disable drug trafficking
organizations," as well as heightened cooperation with Mexico, the White House said.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder, and White House Drug Policy Chief Gil Kerlikowske planned to discuss the strategy at a news conference.
Rising drug violence in the United States is one of the administration's top domestic concerns.
–CNN's Terry Frieden contributed to this report.
(CNN) - In response to the growing number of swine flu cases in Mexico and the United States, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said Saturday that the administration is taking the situation "seriously and monitoring for any developments."
A White House official says Obama has had no flu-like symptoms since his trip to Mexico in mid-April, and says there are no concerns about the president’s health.
On Saturday, the World Health Organization called "a public health emergency of international concern."
The most recent reports Saturday afternoon were of two confirmed cases of the virus in Kansas. Those joined eight confirmed cases in Texas and California and an apparent outbreak at a private school in New York City, where officials say eight children likely have the virus.
The WHO's Gregory Hartl said the strain of the virus seen in Mexico - which may have killed as many as 68 people there, according to that nation's health agency - is worrisome because it has mutated from older strains.
(CNN) – As President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon talk tough about cracking down on the deadly drug war, the United States is changing tactics in the battle against illegal narcotics at home.
The man Obama picked to be the new "drug czar," Gil Kerlikowske, has made it clear that the United States is going to do a better job of treating addicts to try to reduce the demand for narcotics.
Kerlikowske, 59, is a military veteran with 36 years of law enforcement experience. The drug czar oversees an agency that sets the country's drug-control strategy.
The White House and Congress want to see more drug courts, and increased funding for the program 250 percent in the spending bill signed in March.
It's a campaign pledge that the Obama administration thinks will give nonviolent offenders "a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior," according to the White House Web site.
(CNN) - President Obama visits Mexico with many issues on the table, but reinstating the ban on assault weapons in the U.S. isn't likely to be one on which the two countries can reach agreement.
Mexican officials say criminals use assault weapons from the U.S. in the violent border region.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico's ambassador to the U.S., say reinstating the ban would stop the deadly flow of weapons across the border.
Under the Clinton administration in 1994, Congress banned possession of 19 military-style assault weapons. The ban was allowed to expire 10 years later during the Bush administration.
Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that Obama would like to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons, noting, "I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico at a minimum." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last month that as a senator, she supported a measure to reinstate it.
(CNN) - President Obama travels to Mexico on Thursday as the United States' neighbor to the south continues to wrestle with increasingly deadly drug wars.
Obama recently announced a crackdown on border violence and on the smuggling of cash and weapons into Mexico - a step that could mark an end to a blame game over where responsibility for the violence lies.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the president designated three Mexican organizations, which he says are involved in drug trafficking, to face hefty financial sanctions under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. The law, signed by President Bill Clinton in December 1999, authoritizes the president to impose penalties against foreign drug kingpins - and organizations that do business with them, according to the Treasury Department.
The president's action comes ahead of his trip to Mexico - along with attending the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago later this week - where drug violence will undoubtedly be debated. It's traditional for the new U.S. president to go north and south early on. Obama traveled to Canada in February.
Authorities on both sides of the border blame powerful drug cartels for escalating bloodshed. Analysts have said the bulk of the violence takes place along the U.S. border, particularly in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and Tijuana - as well as on Mexico's western coast.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congress has appropriated $700 million in aid to Mexico to help that country battle drug violence, and more may be on the way. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll suggests Americans may strongly support a response that goes beyond money: three in four favor sending U.S. troops to the border to deal with the crisis.
Last month, the Obama administration announced a crackdown on border violence and on the smuggling of cash and weapons into Mexico, a step that could mark an end to a nasty blame game over where responsibility for the violence lies.
The CNN/ORC telephone poll of 1,023 Americans was conducted April 3-5 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the fighting "a terrible law-enforcement problem" in U.S. cities along the Mexican border, but said it does not yet pose a major threat to overall U.S. security.
"This is more about trying to act proactively," she said in an interview with CNN's Jill Dougherty in Mexico City. "We need to help them, or we'll see the results in our own country."
"Sending U.S. troops to the border with Mexico is a popular suggestion," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Six in ten liberals support that move, along with more than eight in ten conservatives."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration announced a major increase in security funding and agent deployments along with U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday.
The changes are part of what the White House characterized as a sweeping new federal plan to beef up resources in a region increasingly plagued by drug-related violence. The administration is trying to help the Mexican government break up drug cartels believed to be responsible for the killing of roughly 6,500 people in Mexico last year, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.
"Our role is to assist in this battle because we have our own security interests in its success," Napolitano said at the White House.
Border states such as Texas and Arizona are experiencing a notable spike in violence as a result of the accelerating Mexican drug war.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama announced Wednesday he will travel to Mexico next month to meet with President Felipe Calderon.
Obama last met with Calderon in January, but this is his first time he will visit the Mexican leader as President of the United States.
The president made the announcement during a session with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that the White House described as "robust and strategic meeting" on immigration. During the meeting, he told the lawmakers that he will discuss immigration reform with Calderon, and ways to end Mexico's drug-related violence.
This will be Obama's second international trip as president. He traveled to Canada last month.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama and Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke by telephone Saturday morning about how the U.S. military can assist Mexico with growing violence by drug cartels - underscoring the growing concern with which the U.S. views the situation, according to a U.S. military official.
The president initiated the call within hours of Mullen returning to the U.S. from a visit to Mexico City to talk to top military officials there.
"The president was eager to get the chairman's observations on what he found out," the official told CNN.