Mexican Senate approves quasi-military National Guard

Mexico’s Senate has unanimously approved a watered-down version of the militarized National Guard the government wants to use to combat a rising wave of crime.

Senators want to avoid militarizing law enforcement, but President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wants a force with military discipline.

The senate voted to place the new guard under the civilian public safety department. But members will initially come from federal and military police units and will have joint military-civilian command and training.

The bill also places a five-year limit on using the military for police duties.

Because it changed a version passed earlier by the lower house, the bill will apparently have to return to a conference committee. Because it involves constitutional changes, it must still be approved by a majority of state legislatures.

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