Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, February 2, 2000


Training program will improve enforcement of child support in Texas and Mexico

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced the start of the Niños Primero (Children First) Border Initiative Training Conference in McAllen to train government officials, law enforcement and lawyers in Texas and Mexico. The Conference starts today and will adjourn on Friday, Feb. 4. The training will facilitate the collection of child support in cross-border cases.

"Niños Primero targets parents who hide along our shared border to avoid paying child support. This is another part of my plan to aggressively pursue parents who are delinquent in their child support," said Attorney General Cornyn.

Niños Primero is the first comprehensive child support arrangement between the U.S. and Mexico. Federal negotiations have not produced a bilateral accord and other state-level arrangements have been simple Declarations of Reciprocity. To overcome the obstacles to collecting child support created by families divided by the border, the Texas Attorney General's office developed the innovative Niños Primero initiative to locate and apprehend delinquent noncustodial parents, increase paternity and support order establishment and enforcement in Texas and Mexico.

The First Border Initiative Training Conference, held in McAllen last year, produced a framework for Texas-Mexico child support cooperation. In August, Attorney General Cornyn announced the signing of Niños Primero agreements with the Mexican states of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.

Attendees at the conference include Eduardo Garza Rivas (Attorney General of Tamaulipas), Oscar Calderon Sanchez (Attorney General of Coahuila), Angela Stelzer de Canales (Director of Nuevo León Family Services), Enrique Guzman Benavides (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nuevo León), Ramiro Flores Arizpe (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Coahuila) and Concepcion Galvez Coeto (Principal Advisor to the Foreign Minister).

The Office of the Texas Attorney General has received a $123,000 grant from the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to fund the program. Training, such as this Second Border Initiative Training Conference, is crucial so officials in Texas and Mexico will understand the legal procedures of the other country.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050