Thursday, April 18, 2024

Mexican President to Visit U.S.

A little more than a year after they first met, President Obama and Mexican president Felipe Calderón will meet again, this time in Washington, to continue the dialogue on the complex issues facing the two nations.

On Wednesday, the two leaders will participate in a joint press confrence in the Rose Garden.  Later that evening, Calderón and his wife Margarita Zavala will be received at a state dinner.

In his address to a joint session of Congress the following day, Calderón is expected to speak to the looming problem of immigration reform.  This is an issue which has spring boarded to the forefront of US national debate again following the state of Arizona’s recently passed anti-immigration law.

Arizona’s actions have galvanized the two sides of the issue with proponents arguing that it was necessary due to Washington’s lack of action and opponents, including Obama, accusing the law of doing nothing more than leading to racial profiling of Hispanics.

This renewed debate over whether the US Congress will be able to tackle something as controversial as immigration in an election year has s shifted the focus of US-Mexico relations away from the spiraling violence that has plagued Mexico in the past couple of years, much of it, particularly in the northern border region, a direct result of feuds amongst the drug cartels.

Calderón assumed office with a pledge to crack down on these cartels, but an estimated 20,000 Mexicans have been killed in these conflicts since 2006.  Recently, two American citizens, one of them a US consulate worker, were gunned down in the border city of Juarez, Mexico.

Denise Dresser, a political science professor at Mexico City’s Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, says Calderón will be seeking public support and money from Obama. “He wants American validation.”

New York Times

USA Today