Reaching across the Border: Intergovernmental Relations between Texas and Mexico, PRP 134
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Texas enjoys an especially important strategic relationship with Mexico. Not only does it share 1,248 miles of border with Mexico, but also in 1998 Texas was the nation's largest exporting state to Mexico, totaling around $36.3 billion in goods. NAFTA served as a foundation for this economic success, providing a basis for open lines of communication and free, fair trade. In addition, for more than a decade state leaders have worked hard to foster alliances between Texas, Mexican border states, and the Mexican federal government. Despite the strengthening ties between Texas and Mexico and the growing importance of their special relationship, few studies ever analyze intergovernmental relations across national borders from a state level to a federal level. In part this is due to constitutional reasons: states are not allowed to trespass upon the federal domain of relations between nations. But even here, as this policy report demonstrates, considerable scope exists for a state-in this case Texas-to be at the forefront of forging direct relations with Mexico. This study is the first to systematically analyze the intergovernmental relationship within a variety of public policy arenas. It evaluates the modes of contact, the level of communication, the extent of cooperation, and the ways in which public officials on either side of the border view the other.