State Department's Travel Warning Quietly Disappears

Travelers enter the United States in San Ysidro, CA, one of the numerous crossings along the border.
Ruxandra Guidi
April 14, 2011

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Last Friday, the United States issued a travel warning for parts of Mexico (See below), saying American citizens and law enforcement were at risk. Now, that warning has been dropped.

After the first of 120 bodies turned up in mass graves across the border near Brownsville, Texas last week, the U.S. State department released a warning that American citizens may be attacked. It was the first warning of its kind, a message that U.S. citizens and law enforcement were in danger in three northeastern Mexican states: Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and San Luis Potosi.

The story spread through the news media, appearing on the pages of The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday morning. Within hours, the warning was just as quietly removed from the web sites for the American consulates in three states: Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros.

A State Department spokesman said the information was no longer deemed credible.

Even though the latest warning was removed, another warning urging extreme caution when traveling in those Mexican states remains in effect.

This is the original warden message that appeared on the pages of the US Consul offices in those cities:

Matamoros Warden Message

Regarding Possible Threat to American Citizens

April 8, 2011

The United States Consulates General in Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, and Monterrey advise American citizens that the U.S. government has received uncorroborated information that Mexican criminal gangs may intend to attack U.S. law enforcement officers or U.S. citizens in the near future in Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and San Luis Potosi. This information is being distributed to all U.S. government employees in the three states. No other information is available. If more detailed information is developed, we will advise American citizens immediately.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers from Mexico, a regular toll line at 001-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Mexico are encouraged to enroll with the Embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) via http://travel.state.gov to obtain updated travel and security information. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly with the Embassy or Consulates. Enrollment is important; it allows the Embassy and the State Department to assist you in an emergency. Those enrollees who wish to receive updated travel and security information must provide an email address as part of their enrollment.

For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, please contact the U.S. Embassy or the closest U.S. Consulate.