Mexico Institute Senior Advisor, Eric Olson is the guest for part three of the series, “Charting a New Course.” In this episode we focus on the policy of shared responsibility between the U.S. and Mexico regarding security relations. How has the Merida Initiative evolved and does it still provide the appropriate framework for security cooperation? That question and others provides the focus for this edition of Wilson Center NOW.
The recent announcements by President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of senators outlining broad principles for immigration reform are very welcome. While the specifics of any reform will be hotly debated, a major advance has been made with the emergence of a broad political consensus, from left to right, that the current system is broken and in need of major repair.
It would be troubling, then, if this golden opportunity to fix a broken system falls victim to the very same trap that has ensnared other reform efforts. By conditioning reforms on achieving a poorly defined and much misunderstood notion of “securing the border,” the whole effort is at risk of unraveling.
Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday freed a Frenchwoman who had been found guilty of kidnapping and jailed since 2005, arguing that her case was plagued by police abuse, including the staging of her arrest for broadcast on live television.
“The good news is that there is a reform process on the way,” said Eric Olson, Associate Director of the Latin American Program at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars “The Supreme Court is a much more independent actor, and is willing to stand up for basic procedures and guarantees. But there is much more to be done.”
Mr. Olson said the Cassez case highlights the dilemma that all countries face, including the U.S., when they face a violent threat, be it kidnapping or terrorism. “There is an enormous temptation when have such a threat to throw out the rule of law,” he said. “Mexico and any country are better off in the long run strengthening the rule of law.”
Coinciding U.S. and Mexican presidential elections offer a natural opportunity to look at the evolving context of bilateral relations and look forward for ways to strengthen ties. The Mexico Institute is pleased to launch an electronic version of its new policy report, “New Ideas for a New Era: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations,” by Christopher E. Wilson, Eric L. Olson, Miguel R. Salazar, Andrew Selee, and Duncan Wood. The policy report highlights five key issues with the potential to strengthen U.S.-Mexico relations. A printed version of this report will be available shortly.
The Mexico Institute is pleased to announce a selection of new resources:
- Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood provides commentary on the Pacto.
- NAFTA 20 Years on: Time for a Change, analysis by Christopher Wilson.
- Mexico Institute releases English translation graphic of new Mexican cabinet.
- Mexico Institute releases 4 part video series on Latino electorate.
- New addition to The Expert Take: Eric L. Olson provides commentary on President Peña Nieto’s Security Strategy
Wolf Blitzer, CNN-Situation Room, 11/27/2012
BLITZER: The biggest problem between the United States and Mexico right now and how to solve it. I’m going to be speaking with Mexico’s president-elect, Enrique Pena Nieto. My exclusive interview with the newly elected president of Mexico, that’s just ahead.
Concerns about global terrorism, potential threats posed by those entering the United States illegally, and fears that skyrocketing violence in Mexico might spillover into the United States have led to dramatic policy shifts and significant efforts to secure the border. Without a doubt, the U.S. and Mexican federal governments have made large investments in staffing, infrastructure and technology and have reorganized and refocused efforts to respond to specific threats and events. Yet gains in areas such as apprehensions of undocumented migrants and reductions in violence in key cities such as Ciudad Juarez seem tenuous at best and beg for more comprehensive, creative and collaborative solutions between these two countries, one a superpower and the other a key emerging power.
The working paper, which explores these challenges and some potential solutions, will be published in the fall of 2012 as a chapter in the forthcoming State of the Border Report, which seeks to provide a comprehensive yet accessible look at the state of affairs in border management and the border region, focusing on four core areas: trade and economic development, security, sustainability, and quality of life. The State of the Border Report is an initiative of the Border Research Partnership, which is comprised of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies, and el Colegio de la Frontera Norte.