Fresh Thinking on Drug Use

4/12/16 Human Rights Watch

drugsFor the past decade, Mexico has pursued a “war on drugs” with catastrophic consequences — drug-related violence has taken the lives of tens of thousands of people. Last month, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled that prohibiting the personal use of marijuana violates a constitutional right to the “free development of one’s personality.” The ruling, while limited to marijuana, represents an important step toward a new approach to drug policy that could help make Mexicans healthier and safer.

We hope that Brazil´s Supreme Court will follow Mexico’s example. The Brazilian court is considering whether a law that makes possession of drugs for personal use a crime violates a constitutional right to privacy. If the court strikes down the law, Brazil will join a growing list of countries that are liberalizing their policies toward drug use – from Portugal, which in 2001 decriminalized the personal use of all drugs without apparent ill effect, to Uruguay, which in 2013 became the first country fully to legalize and regulate marijuana.

Even the United States, traditionally one of the most zealous enforcers of a prohibitionist approach to drug control, is starting to soften. Almost half of its 50 states have legalized marijuana in some form, and the Obama administration is taking a hands-off approach to the states’ experiments.

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2.5 million illegals cross border under Obama, less than Bush

7/20/15 Washington Times

ObamaAbout 2.5 million illegal immigrants have settled in the U.S. during President Obama’s tenure, according to estimates being released Monday by the Center for Immigration Studies, which said it’s an improvement compared with the Bush administration.

Nearly 800,000 of those illegal immigrants arrived in the past two years, suggesting that the flow has ticked up as the economy has improved and as Mr. Obama has reshaped enforcement policies, focusing on criminals while relaxing actions against rank-and-file illegal immigrants. Still, the total illegal immigrant population has remained steady at an estimated 11 million to 12 million over the past six years, the report concluded, finding that the arrivals are canceled out by the hundreds of thousands who return home, die or earn legal status through existing channels such as marrying an American.
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Immigration Reform News: President Obama Says He Will Continue to Fight for Immigration Reform

6/6/15 Latin Post

obamaIn light of Immigrant Heritage Month, President Barack Obama promised to continue his fight to overhaul the country’s broken immigration system during his weekly address on Saturday.

“I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make our immigration system more just and more fair,” Obama said.

During the speech, the president talked about the executive action he took last November to protect up to 5 million undocumented residents from deportation. However, in response Texas led a coalition of 25 states in filing a lawsuit against the relief programs, arguing that it would hurt their states and violate the Constitution. Subsequently, a Texas district judge issued a temporary injunction in February that stalled the implementation of Obama’s plan while the constitutionality of the policy is being considered.

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Obama Pledges Mexico’s Pena Nieto Drugs Support

1/6/2015 BBC News

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoPresident Barack Obama has promised the US will stand alongside Mexico in its fight against drug-related violence.

The vow came after talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto in the White House, in which the two discussed the recent disappearance of 43 Mexican students.

The US president said his country would be a “good partner” to its neighbour in the fight against drugs and associated problems.

“Our commitment is to be a friend and supporter of Mexico in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of violence and drug cartels that are responsible for so many tragedies inside of Mexico,” he said.

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Plan Mérida: Vital para EE.UU. y México

1/7/2015 Voz de América

Interview with Christopher Wilson

obama_nieto_featureLos presidentes de Estados Unidos y México coincidieron en afirmar la necesidad de fortalecer sus relaciones en el marco de temas como seguridad, inmigración y comercio.

En un análisis de la reunión que sostuvieron los mandatarios Barack Obama y Enrique Peña Nieto en la Casa Blanca, el experto asociado del Instituto México del Centro de Pensamiento Woodrow Wilson, Christopher Wilsondijo en entrevista con la Voz de América que ambos países reconocen la importancia de su cooperación y buscan extenderla.

“Uno de los aspectos más importantes para la seguridad se apoya en la Iniciativa Mérida y ese es el punto que requiere del mayor fortalecimiento porque las dos naciones reconocen que es un mecanismo efectivo”, dijo Wilson.

Read more and listen to the interview here…

Obama presses Mexico to Help Prevent Illegal Immigration Surge

1/6/2015 The Hill

President Obama pressed Mexico’s president on Tuesday to work alongside the U.S. 4097699785_073813177e_zgovernment to prevent a new surge of illegal immigrants.

Obama is looking for the help after taking executive action that will offer legal status and work permits to millions of people in the United States illegally, many of them from Mexico.

In a White House meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Obama said the Mexican government had committed to help “send a very clear message” that the executive action does not cover new immigrants.

For Mexico, there’s significant incentive to help support the president’s new immigration action.

…“But the biggest reason this is celebrated by the Mexican government is they feel a responsibility to protect their citizens abroad,” said Chris Wilson, who leads the study of U.S.-Mexico border affairs at the Wilson Center. “When Mexican citizens are in the U.S. without immigration papers, they’re vulnerable. They don’t have the same access to the police, to public services.”

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The Business That Builds North American Prosperity

1/5/2015 U.S. News & World Report

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters
Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

When Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto first visited the White House as president-elect in November 2012, he was determined to reframe the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Security had dominated the bilateral agenda since 2001, and the new administration sought to give economic ties the leading role.

…While his [EPN] bold structural reform program has impressed foreign investors and the international media, public anger over the September disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero state, compounded by a series of corruption allegations,threatens the administration’s economic message. Peña Nieto’s meeting with President Barack Obama could not come at a more critical time.

The Obama administration should seize this opportunity to review security cooperation and refocus on important joint efforts to strengthen the rule of law and confront drug-related violence. It would be a mistake, however, to allow the pendulum of the bilateral relationship to swing completely in this direction. Both dimensions — economics and security — require attention at the highest levels of government.

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