Foreign Policy Blogs

What is Barack Obama's Position on Mexico?

Barack Obama's official position‚ at least according to his campaign website‚ is limited to promoting further economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration. This is a reductionist position on one of the most important financial and political relationships in the world. Nevertheless, this does not mean that Obama does not have a more detailed platform in regard to US-Mexico relations. It is just that this platform is not on Obama's website. This is unfortunate, as the website is the most obvious place to find about Obama's position in regard to Mexico.

In February 2008, Obama proposed to "repair the relationship with Mexico". This renovation is divided in three main issues: immigration, drug trafficking, and NAFTA. Obama's proposals in these areas are more politically correct than innovative, but at least there is an acknowledgement that US-Mexico relations need to be renovated in order to solve common problems. John McCain's proposal is limited to "building alliances in Mexico" in order to secure the border and solve the immigration problem in the US.

Obama's campaign is far from being over. Hopefully, by the time his campaign has come to an end, he will have a clear, detailed, innovative, and realistic policy towards Mexico. If he wins the Presidency, such a platform will be a good starting point in the renovation of relations between the US and Mexico.

  • A. Stranger

    An excellent, incisive series of comments on this site.
    A few comments and questions…
    what do you think a realistic, progressive US policy would look like towards Mexico?
    Mexico's economy, by several indicators, has grown in the last few years, but immigration has not slowed, as far as we know. So, it seems we need a definition of development that goes beyond simply an aspiration for continuous growth. What are the chances/opportunities for developing such a policy under NAFTA?

  • alejandro quiroz flores

    Mr./Mrs. Stranger,

    thanks for your comment. You also present a good question. As you said, the macroeconomic performance of the country is not bad. However, countries like to report averages and not variances, so we are lacking data on a number of things. Maybe by looking more carefully at the numbers we will see that things are actually worse. That's precisely when we can incorporate new measures of growth. More realistic indicators of development would provide a good first step towards domestic and international policies that contribute to the growth of the region.

    I know.

  • A. Stranger, Brooklyn

    Thanks for your reply alex quiroz flores. You are a nice fellow, it seems. I think it will be difficult to push through any very dramatic changes to the ways labor markets operate between the two countries, for the simple reason that those who are most harmed by them at the moment (those who are actually forced to take undue risks crossing the border, and those few sectors of unskilled US labor with whom most illegal migrants compete), lack any notable political and organizational resources. On the other hand, of course, a number of people benefit from the informal arrangement, many of whom do not lack for political power or influence, although one rarely hears from them.

    Security is separate issue of course; creating better security between and and around the NAFTA countries is a duanting, thankless task though, such are the size of the borders; had so many resources not been poured into foreign misadventures in the middle east the US might’ve been better placed to fund a rational upgrade of security in hemispheric borders.

  • mike coe

    Naturally immigration from Mexico to the US will continue unabated as long as Mexico's economy fails to generate enough employment for their domestic labor force. I also believe that migration has increased as the two economies have grown more connected as a result of NAFTA.


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