30 July 2010

US Embassy announces Ciudad Jurarez consulate to close for security review

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The US consulate on the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez was closed yesterday pending a security review.

The US Embassy announced the consulate will "remain closed until the security review is completed" and said it would reschedule appointments for visa applications.

The embassy did not say what prompted the review, and a spokesman said there would be no comment beyond the statement.

The closing of the Ciudad Juarez consulate is a drastic security measure yet after a series of moves made by the US State Department over the past months to protect consulate employees and their families from violence along the Mexico - United States border. Three people tied to the consulate have been killed by drug gangs.

A US employee of the consulate, her husband and a Mexican tied to the consulate were killed March 13 when a drug gang fired on their cars as they left a children's party.

The consulate is the only place where Mexicans applying for US residency can go.

The US Embassy call center will contact applicants to reschedule appointments, and provide a number that US citizens could call for passport appointment and other services.

The embassy warned US Visa applicants that the medical clinics where they receive exams as part of their applications may also close on short notice.

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