By Victor Trevino
The Republic | azcentral.com
In January, we witnessed the beginning of a second term for President Barack Obama. In December, in Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto began a six-year term.
There are several reasons to emphasize the new beginnings of executive branches of the United States and Mexico: Both countries share a border of more than 2,000 miles, both are partners through the North American Free Trade Agreement, both share historical and family ties and both have a common bilateral agenda.
While Obama has an agenda that will address domestic fiscal policy and economic growth, his administration also has other priorities like immigration, gun control, energy and climate change.
Concurrently (and this was something that I confirmed recently during a meeting of ambassadors and consuls of Mexico), the five guiding principles of the new Mexican government address most of the issues mentioned above: a peaceful Mexico, an inclusive country with quality education, economic prosperity and positioning Mexico as an actor with greater global responsibility.
Prosperity and responsibility involve immigration. On that subject, the government of Mexico welcomes the principles for a comprehensive reform of the immigration system in the United States that have been laid out both by the president and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators. It also acknowledges the valuable input that has been provided in recent weeks by numerous economic groups and civil-society organizations.
We recognize the commitment shown by an increasing number of U.S. leaders to ensure that the legal frameworks in North America reflect the region’s demographic realities, the existing complement between our economies, the need for a prosperous, competitive, secure and efficient border, and the family links as well as the shared values between our societies. The priority of protecting the rights of every individual, regardless of his or her immigration status, has appropriately been included at the core of this debate.
Immigration policy is a federal domestic issue in the United States. Nevertheless, it has an effect on the lives of millions of individuals permanently present in this country. The government of Mexico will continue to respectfully promote and inform discussion of the many dimensions of this subject, and to protect the rights of its citizens abroad.
In the area of economics, the start of the administration of Peña Nieto and the second term for Obama also opens a window of opportunity to update and strengthen NAFTA, which will enter its 20th year in 2014, as well as an analysis on how to expand its economic ties with Asia through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Every 12 years there is this convergence of power between the U.S. and Mexico and perhaps it’s never been as relevant as it is now to take advantage of it. Both governments need their counterpart, including its people, to do well, and if this is achieved, we will all thrive.
Victor M. Treviño is the consul general of Mexico in Phoenix.