Obama will pitch immigration overhaul in Mexico

Before he can sell his plan back home, the president needs support from Mexican authorities

Topics: Mexico, Immigration Reform, border control, Barack Obama, Immigration, aol_on,

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has his domestic ambition at the top of his travel agenda as he travels to Mexico on Thursday. To sell his immigration overhaul back home, he needs a growing economy in Mexico and a Mexican president willing to help him secure the border.

Obama was to fly to Mexico City on Thursday to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, eager to promote Mexico’s economic success and the neighboring country’s place as the second largest export market for U.S. goods and services. Mexicans will be hanging on the president’s words, but Obama also has in mind an important audience back in the United States.

Though the role played by Latino voters in last year’s U.S. presidential election gets much credit for the current momentum for changing immigration laws and providing a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, another reason for the change in attitudes is that stronger border protections and the recession have been disincentives to cross into the U.S. As a result, illegal immigration has declined.

“With Mexico, first and foremost, they are critical to our ability to secure the border,” said Ben Rhodes, an Obama deputy national security adviser. “All the immigration plans that have been contemplated put a focus on securing the border as an essential priority and starting point for immigration reform.”

Even better than a strong border is an economy that keeps people from fleeing.

“If the Mexican economy is growing, it forestalls the need for people to migrate to the United States to find work,” Rhodes added.

Eager to focus on the economy and immigration, the administration is downplaying Pena Nieto’s recent steps to end the broad access Mexico gave U.S. security agencies to help fight drug trafficking and organized crime under his predecessor, Felipe Calderon. Still, the changes are likely to be a subject during the two leaders’ private talks. Obama said this week he wouldn’t judge the new moves until he heard directly from Mexican officials.

Pena Nieto took office in December, and for Obama the trip is an opportunity to take his measure of the Mexican leader early in his tenure.

“It’s really important to go there while this new president is forming his own plans and judgments about what he’s going to do about the border, about where he’s going to be on immigration, about where he is on trade,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Thomas Donohue said in an interview.



The chamber long has worked to improve U.S.-Mexico trade, noting that now about 6 million U.S. jobs depend on commerce with Mexico.

Striking the right note on border security is key, Donohue said, because it is a central to winning support in Congress for the rest of the immigration legislation.

“That’s what everybody wants to hear, and we have to do that in a way that makes these guys down there feel like we’re doing it in conjunction with them and for them, so we can do this thing on immigration well, so we can expand our trade, so we can deal with our political issues as they are trying to deal with theirs,” Donohue said.

Still, with 33 million U.S. residents of Mexican origin, Obama’s message in Mexico is also bound to resonate in the U.S., where Latinos could increase pressure on Congress to act.

“It helps keep these passions alive as far as an issue to promote for the administration,” said Carl Meacham, a former senior Latin America adviser on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But Meacham, now director of the Americas program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, cautioned that despite some bipartisan support to create a path to citizenship in the immigration bill, there is skepticism in Latin America. “They’ve been brought to the altar so many times by different American administrations that there’s a little bit of a lack of trust,” he said.

For Pena Nieto, Obama’s visit is a chance for him to showcase his country’s economic gains. After suffering along with the U.S. during the recession, its economy is now growing at a better clip than that of the U.S. Per capita income has gone from an annual $7,900 two years ago to $10,146. But Diana Negroponte, a Latin America expert at the Brookings Institution, says corruption remains endemic, human rights are still a problem, and efforts to change and improve the judicial system have been too slow.

“There is concern on our side of the border that greater help needs to be given in order for Mexico to reform its system,” she said.

Pena Nieto’s changes in the security relationship with the U.S. have prompted some U.S. officials to speculate that the new president might be embracing the policies of his Institutional Revolutionary Party, which long has favored centralized political and bureaucratic control.

Among those watching the new steps is Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who has held up $228 million sought by the Obama administration for Mexico under a security cooperation agreement. Under the agreement, known as the Merida Initiative, Congress has already given Mexico more than $1.9 billion in aid since 2008.

But Leahy, chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the State Department budget, has been a critic of how the money has been used and with the results.

“Congress has been asked for a significant new investment, but it’s not clear what the new Mexican government’s intensions are,” Leahy said in a statement to The Associated Press. “We’re in a period of uncertainty until we know enough to be able to reset that part of our relationship. I’m not ready to sign off on more money without a lot more details.”

 

Obama's Trip To Mexico

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>