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Obama, Calderon and Harper in Guadalajara
U.S. President Barack Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a big summit in Guadalajara, Mexico on August 9th and 10th . Of course, immigration was on the agenda.
The Washington Post reported that
President Obama, attending a North American summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, said Monday that his administration will pursue a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. immigration system this year but that no action on legislation will happen before 2010.
...The president said he expects draft legislation and sponsors by the end of the year, but no action until 2010 because of more pressing issues, including health-care reform, energy legislation and financial regulatory changes
Obama Vows to Focus on Borders, Washington Post, Cheryl W. Thompson and William Booth, Aug. 11, 2009
Here are more details from the article:
Wrapping up the two-day meeting, Obama said that there needs to be "a pathway to citizenship" for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States, and that the system must be reworked to avoid tensions with Mexico. Without it, he said, Mexicans will keep crossing the border in dangerous ways and employers will continue exploiting workers. "We can create a system in which you have . . . an orderly process for people to come in, but we're also giving an opportunity for those who are already in the United States to be able to achieve a pathway to citizenship so that they don't have to live in the shadows," Obama said during an hour-long news conference at the CabaĂ±as Cultural Center in downtown Guadalajara. "Am I going to be able to snap my fingers and get this done? No. This is going to be difficult."
How can the system be "reworked to avoid tensions with Mexico" when anything less than open borders for Mexicans going northwards is unacceptable to the Mexican government ? And why should immigration, a unilateral responsibility of the U.S. government, even be on the agenda in Guadalajara?
I do like what Obama said about the Honduras situation :
"The same critics who say that the United States has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say that we're always intervening, and the Yankees need to get out of Latin America," Obama said. "You can't have it both ways."
Good point, Mr. President.
According to a Mexican media report on the Guadalajara summit:
"...President Felipe Calderon took advantage of the opportunity to speak on the topic [of immigration] and said that it is unthinkable that the United States would have become the most powerful country in the world in the past century without the collaboration of the Mexican workers."
So according to Calderon, the U.S. owes its position in the world to Mexican labor. Well, since Mexico has even more Mexican workers than the U.S., then why isn't Mexico the world's most powerful country?
But the movement of Mexicans to the U.S. wasn't the only immigration topic on the agenda. The topic of Mexican immigration to Canada was also.
At the summit, Calderon protested Canada's recent visa requirement for Mexicans. I quote again from the Mexican media:
"...Calderon guaranteed that the government of Mexico had made it clear before Canada that it [the Mexican government] deplores and rejects the imposition of a visa for Mexicans..."
Did you catch that? The Mexican government "deplores and rejects" the right of Canada to require a visa for a Mexican visitor.
Here's more on the Mexico-Canada visa issue:
....[Calderon] said that he has had a frank dialogue with Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister, expressing the rejection of this measure [the Canadian visa for Mexicans], expressing his [Calderon's] rejection of the measure, but also recognizing the right of that country to have taken this measure, although 'that decision hinders and makes more difficult the [Mexican-Canadian] relationship....Harper reiterated that this measure was necessary to avoid the collapse of the refugee system of his country, and that a legislative reform and other legal tools would be necessary to take other actions.
To summarize, Mexican migration to the U.S. and Canada were on the agenda, but not the migration of Americans and Canadians to Mexico, which is strictly a Mexican matter. After all, Mexico has to defend its sovereignty. So when can we defend our sovereignty?