Mexico signals improved ties with U.S. on development, trade

3/21/2019 – Reuters

20-03-2019-FOTO-07-CONFERENCIA-DE-PRENSA-MATUTINA-1024x683.jpgMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signaled on Wednesday progress between Mexico and the United States on migration and trade after talks with a senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.

The two neighbors have clashed over Trump’s trade and immigration polices, including his push for a border wall, although Lopez Obrador has mostly avoided public criticism of Trump.

Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, described to reporters on Wednesday a good meeting at a Tuesday night dinner with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, at the home of a mutual friend in the Mexican capital.

Lopez Obrador said Mexico is seeking a bilateral deal with the Trump Administration that includes a $10 billion development plan for Mexico and Central America aimed at addressing immigration.

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Mexico to investigate ‘dirty campaign’ critical of president

3/15/2019 – Reuters

REUTERS | Henry Romero 

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government said on Thursday it would investigate funding of critical coverage of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during his 2018 election bid on suspicion it received illicit support from his adversaries.

Santiago Nieto, head of the finance ministry’s financial intelligence unit, said the government would investigate funding of the series “Populismo en America” (Populism in America) that featured an episode dedicated to Lopez Obrador.

Nieto said the documentary was part of a “dirty campaign” aimed at discrediting Lopez Obrador during the election.

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Mexico’s Congress OKs New National Guard Championed by Lopez Obrador

3/15/2019 – The New York Times

09-03-2019-FOTO-06-PRECIOS-DE-GARANTIA-PRODUCTORES-DE-LECHE-JALISCO-1024x682.jpgMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Congress on Thursday approved President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s plan to create a national guard, a key piece of the government’s strategy to rein in gang violence that has cost tens of thousands of lives over the past decade.

With approval in hand from both the lower house and Senate, the constitutional reform to create the national guard will now head to Lopez Obrador for his ratification and then be published in the official gazette to become law.

The government said initially that in a first phase, the guard would consist of some 50,000 members transferred from military and federal police forces. Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said recently the ranks of the national guard would grow to some 80,000 by the end of the year.

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US immigration agents find ways around ‘sanctuary’ policies

3/14/2019 – The Washington Post

By Astrid Galvan

(Russell Contreras/Associated Press)

PHOENIX — Two years after New Mexico’s largest county barred local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration authorities, its leaders learned that the policy was being subverted from within.

Staff members at the Bernalillo County jail in Albuquerque were still granting immigration authorities access to its database and, in some cases, tipping them off when a person of interest was being released.

“I was surprised and horrified,” said Maggie Hart Stebbins, chairwoman of the Bernalillo County Commission. “Individual employees do not have the freedom to pick and choose what they want to observe.”

The disclosure last month cast a spotlight on an often-overlooked way in which immigration officials around the U.S. may be getting around local “sanctuary” policies — through informal relationships with police and others willing to cooperate when they’re not supposed to. Immigration activists say they have seen it places like Philadelphia, Chicago and several communities in California, which has a statewide sanctuary law.

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Mexico Senate Picks Wife of President’s Business Ally for Supreme Court

3/13/2019 – The New York Times

11-03-2019-Foto-Mini-770x433MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Senate on Tuesday chose the wife of a business ally of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to serve on the Supreme Court, sparking criticism that her appointment could undermine the independence of the top tribunal.

At the second time of asking, the Senate voted by an overwhelming majority to approve the nomination of Yasmin Esquivel, a Mexico City judge married to Jose Maria Rioboo, a construction magnate with close ties to Lopez Obrador.

After her ratification, Esquivel, who has rejected any suggestion that her relationship with Rioboo could compromise her integrity at the court, vowed to uphold the independence of the judiciary in serving her 15-year term.

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Senate Seems to Have Votes to Reject Trump’s Wall Move

3/4/2019 – The New York Times

Capture.PNGBy the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Opponents of President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border appear to have enough Senate votes to reject his move, now that Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky has said he can’t go along with the White House.

The House has voted to derail the action, and if the Senate follows later this month, the measure would go to Trump for his promised veto.

Three other Republican senators have announced they’ll vote “no” — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Paul makes it four, and assuming that all 47 Democrats and their independent allies go against Trump, that would give opponents 51 votes — just past the majority needed.

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Democrats may have votes to block Trump’s border emergency in U.S. Senate

3/4/2019 – Reuters

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul said he would vote in favor of a resolution to end President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border emergency declaration, according to a media report, likely giving Democrats the votes to pass the measure in the Senate.

Trump, who has promised to issue his first veto if the Senate approves the resolution, declared an emergency last month in a bid to fund a wall along the border without congressional approval.

While the Senate appears unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto, passage in the Republican-controlled chamber would be an embarrassment for the president, who has failed over more than two years in office to persuade Congress to fund his wall, a central promise of his presidential campaign.

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