MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s government said on Thursday that it was finalizing the legal framework for the Mexican National Guard, a new law enforcement agency backed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The National Guard’s creation was approved by Congress and the 32 state legislatures.
Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, backed the new agency as a way to fight crime and violence in Mexico.
Government Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said during the president’s daily morning press conference that the law enforcement agency’s creation was one of three constitutional reforms approved during the first 100 days of Lopez Obrador’s administration.
The ranks of the National Guard, a security force that will be under civilian rather than military command, will be made up of Federal Police officers, soldiers and marines.
Officials are working to finalize the implementing legislation for the new law enforcement agency, Sanchez Cordero said, noting that this was a “constitutional requirement.”
The implementing legislation will include the National Guard Law; the National Law on Use of Force; and the National Arrest Registry Law.
The General National Public Safety Law will also be reformed, Sanchez Cordero said.
“We will also revise other laws to have coherence and legislative harmony,” the Cabinet officer said.
The Lopez Obrador administration is also working on implementing legislation for the other two constitutional reforms, which deal with the seizure of assets and preventive arrest.
Lopez Obrador, for his part, said the reform dealing with property seizures would help authorities recover “ill-gotten” assets linked to criminal activities and white collar crime.
The founder and leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) said the constitutional reforms will allow authorities to fight serious crimes, such as corruption, fuel theft, election fraud, the killings of women and sexual abuse of minors.
The National Guard’s mission will be to fight crime in Mexico, where 33,341 murders occurred last year, making 2018 the bloodiest year since statistics officially started being kept in 1997.
The new law enforcement agency was initially mired in controversy because Lopez Obrador wanted it to be under military command, a proposal that was criticized by the opposition and human rights groups.
The different political parties eventually agreed to place the National Guard under civilian command, employing police tactics and incorporating military personnel for only five years.