Feb 17, 2013

U.S. Immigration Reforms Demand Mexican 'Firmness' (La Jornada, Mexico)

"For Mexico, Obama's second term represents an opportunity to restore the imperative of immigration reform to the place it should never have lost. ... Of course, this depends not only on the correlation of political forces North of the Rio Bravo, but on the capacity of our national authorities to handle bi-national relations with an attitude of respect, and at the same time with sovereign firmness, leaving behind the shameful submission toward Washington that characterized the previous administration."

La Jornada, February 16, 2013
Translated By Halszka Czarnocka for World Meets 

In an anachronistic private ceremony, president of the United States Barack Obama has begun the second term he won in the November election, to remain at the head of the country for the next four years. In contrast to January 20, 2009, when the first African-American was installed in the White House, on this occasion there is no exuberant optimism in the neighboring country, and the sensation of participation in a historic moment has been left behind.


The electoral triumph of the former Senator for Illinois over his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, is not a result of his society's bet on the future, as happened in 2008, but a victory of common sense. While the defeated presidential candidate was unable to express sensible and viable solutions to the urgent problems facing the most powerful country in the world, his Democratic opponent proved in his first term to be an efficient manager, even if his leadership brought better results for the corporate and geopolitical interests of the superpower than for the unresolved needs of the U.S. population.


Today it is clear that Obama's disposition is to adjust his proposals for social  transformation to the narrow margins of power available to him. Hence, it is reasonable to assume that externally over the next four years, Washington will continue to operate as a violent and predatory power. Domestically, it is at least probable that the Democratic president will continue to allow corporate and financial interests to dominate social ones, limiting his gestures toward satisfying the latter only so as to avoid their reaching the breaking point, which has already been foreshadowed by outbursts of discontent on the part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. A clear example of the merely cosmetic social engagement of the Obama Administration is his way of facing society's problem of guns, which has so tragically been pushed into the public debate by the recent massacre at a Connecticut school. Instead of pointing toward the central root of the problem, which is the enormous share of the economy made up by the weapons industry, Obama limited himself to proposing legal patches to slow the acquisition and possession of assault rifles by individuals.


One of the few areas in which the new administration beginning today should propose real reforms is immigration policy. This has nothing to do with Obama's convictions or promises, but his burgeoning political obligation toward Americans of Latino origin, who now constitutes a sixth of the population, and to whom in great measure he owes his reelection, considering that three quarters of the sector voted for him last November.

For Mexico, Obama's second term represents an opportunity to restore the imperative of immigration reform to the place it should never have lost: as a principal point of the bilateral agenda, coming before even security or trade negotiations. Of course, this depends not only on the correlation of political forces North of the Rio Bravo, but on the capacity of our national authorities to handle bi-national relations with an attitude of respect, and at the same time with sovereign firmness, leaving behind the shameful submission toward Washington that characterized the previous administration.

Source in Spanish: La Jornada  







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