January 6, 2015
1/6/2015 The Hill
By Duncan Wood, Mexico Institute Director
What a difference a year makes. 12 months ago Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was the darling of international observers, having negotiated a landmark energy reform through the nation’s Congress, capping off an extraordinary year of constitutional (and other) reforms. Although economic growth had been sluggish, it was expected that it would take off with higher government spending, increased consumer confidence and renewed export growth to the United States. On the security front a number of successes had been achieved, with the arrest or elimination of high ranking organized crime leaders and a falling homicide rate. Early in 2014, of course, the Peña Nieto administration was able to celebrate the capture of the most notorious of all cartel leaders, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Since then, however, there has been a steady stream of bad news out of Mexico. Economic growth has continued to disappoint, hitting only 2.3 percent over the year, despite rising fiscal revenues and the successful passage of implementing legislation for the energy reform in August. But the administration’s biggest disappointments have to do with the rule of law. Despite the capture of Guzman and a number of other big names during the year, the government faced a breakdown of law and order in the western state of Michoacan, a worsening violence problem in the border state of Tamaulipas, the massacre of 22 suspected organized crime members in Tlatlaya in the state of Mexico and the disappearance (and suspected murder) of 43 students in Ayotzinapa in the south-western state of Guerrero.
January 6, 2015
President Barack Obama wants to enlist Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in pressuring Cuba to move toward democracy now that the U.S. is opening the relationship.
Cuba will be among the topics of discussion when Pena Nieto arrives Tuesday for his first White House meeting with Obama since taking office, along with Mexico’s security situation and U.S. immigration law, according to an administration official.
Obama is seeking to leverage Mexico’s longstanding ties to Cuba as the U.S. seeks to end more than a half-century of estrangement from the island nation 90 miles (145 kilometers) off the coast of Florida, according to the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to preview the talks.
January 5, 2015
By Christopher Wilson
Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto arrives in Washington today looking for a boost in the midst of the toughest months of his presidency. To make the visit a successful one, President Peña ought to support undocumented Mexican citizens in the United States that are eligible to apply for deferred action through President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, redouble U.S.-Mexico cooperation to strengthen Mexico’s law enforcement institutions, and continue to push for increased U.S.-Mexican cooperation on issues related to trade and manufacturing. Without tangible outcomes on these important issues, the visit could look like more of a distraction from Mexico’s troubles than part of a solution to them.
July 10, 2014
President Barack Obama called on Congress to swiftly approve nearly $4 billion in supplemental funding to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minors at the Southwest border Wednesday, saying lawmakers need to set aside politics to solve the problem.
“Are we more interested in politics, or are we more interested in solving the problem,” Obama said in statement late in the day after a meeting with Texas Governor Rick Perry and local faith leaders in Dallas to deal with the months-long crisis.
April 7, 2014
NY Times, 4/5/14
If President Obama means what he says about wanting an immigration system that reflects American values, helps the economy and taps the yearnings of millions of Americans-in-waiting, he is going to have to do something about it — soon and on his own. It has been frustrating to watch his yes-we-can promises on immigration reform fade to protestations of impotence and the blaming of others. All Mr. Obama has been saying lately is: No, in fact, we can’t, because Republicans and the law won’t let me.
Mr. Obama is correct when he complains that long-term immigration repairs have been throttled in Congress. Neo-nativist Republicans fixated on mass deportation have blocked a worthy bipartisan bill. But Mr. Obama has compounded this failure by clinging to a coldblooded strategy of ramped-up enforcement on the same people he has promised to help through legislation that he has failed to achieve.
With nearly two million removals in the last five years, the Obama administration is deporting people at a faster pace than has taken place under any other president. This enormously costly effort was meant to win Republican support for broader reform. But all it has done is add to the burden of fear, family disruption and lack of opportunity faced by 11 million people who cannot get right with the law. Because of Mr. Obama’s enforcement blitz, more than 5,000 children have ended up in foster care.
March 18, 2014
Liberty Voice, 3/16/14
President Obama is meeting with Latino lawmakers about immigration reform. In an attempt to pacify immigration advocates, the President held a meeting of prominent Latino legislators at the White House. Democrat lawmakers such as Representative Luis Gutierrez, D-IL, Representative Ruben Hinojosa, D-TX, the current chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and House Democrat Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, D-CA, attended the meeting and sought ways of altering current immigration laws.
The President told the congressmen that he was concerned about the pain familiessuffered when separated by immigration policies. He will be asking Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson to explore the Department’s practices and find a humane way of dealing with illegal immigrants while staying within the confines of the law. A spokesman from the White House declined to answer how or what the government could do to alter the current policy or when Secretary Johnson was to report back to the President with his recommendations.
February 19, 2014
President Barack Obama is almost certainly about to be pressured once again by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, USA Today reports. Obama is heading to Mexico for the one-day North American Leadership Summit, and the two leaders will meet on the sidelines. But Harper won’t likely hear anything new from his American counterpart. “I think what President Obama will do is explain to (Harper) where we are in the review of the Keystone pipeline and indicate, of course, that we will let our Canadian friends know when we’ve made a decision,” said a senior administration official.
Also on the cross-border front: Obama on Wednesday will sign an executive order mandating the completion of a government portal for small businesses to submit import and export information. The White House says the electronic portal will allow U.S. companies to better compete in the global economy. Read more about the International Trade Data System in the Hill.