Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for the 109th Congress Page: 2 of 23
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Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for the 109th Congress
The United States and Mexico have a special relationship as neighbors and
partners under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The friendly
relationship has been strengthened by President Bush's meetings with President Fox.
This report, covering trade, migration/border, drug trafficking, and political issues,
will be updated on a regular basis.
Trade Issues. Since 1994, NAFTA institutions have been functioning, trade
between the countries has tripled, and allegations of violations of labor and
environmental laws have been considered under the trilateral institutions. The Bush
Administration argues that NAFTA has had modest positive impacts on all three
member countries, but Mexican farmers have strongly criticized the effects of
NAFTA. Notable trade disputes with Mexico relate to trucking, telecommunications,
tuna, sweeteners and anti-dumping measures.
Migration/Border Issues. In February 2001, Presidents Bush and Fox agreed
to establish high-level talks to ensure orderly migration flows between the countries,
but the talks stalled after the September 2001 terrorist attacks. During President
Bush's State of the Union address on February 2, 2005, he called for "an immigration
policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take." On
February 10, 2005, the House passed the REAL ID Act of 2005 (H.R. 418) that
would establish identity card standards for drivers' licenses and waive laws to
facilitate construction of a border fence; this measure was attached by the House to
the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for FY2005 (H.R. 1268) as Division
B on March 16, 2005. On March 23, 2005, President Bush hosted meetings in Texas
with President Fox and Prime Minister Martin, in which the leaders established the
trilateral "Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America," which will
seek to advance the common security and prosperity of the countries through
expanded cooperation and harmonization of policies.
Drug Trafficking Issues. Bush Administration officials have regularly praised
Mexico's counter-narcotics efforts under Fox, especially action against major
traffickers and efforts to improve the judicial system, and have characterized the
bilateral cooperation in this area as unprecedented. The State Department reported
in March 2005, however, that Mexico remained the leading transit country for
cocaine and that numerous U.S. extradition requests were denied based on the
Mexican prohibition against life sentences and capital punishment.
Political and Human Rights Issues. President Fox's PAN fared poorly in July
2003 elections, making congressional approval of reform measures less likely, and
local elections are being held in a lead up to the July 2006 presidential elections. On
human rights issues, President Fox has designated special prosecutors to try those
responsible for human rights abuses in the 1970s and 1980s, but problems persist,
according to the State Department's February 2005 report. On December 10, 2004,
President Fox, responding to an analysis by the U.N. High Commission for Human
Rights, presented a series of proposed reforms to discourage torture and to strengthen
the rights of defendants in Mexico.
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Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for the 109th Congress, report, March 30, 2005; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc812765/m1/2/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.