Mexican President Outlines Objectives for Relations with New U.S. Administration

By Kausha Luna, January 24, 2017

On Monday, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Mexico's top principles and objectives for its relationship with the United States under the new Trump administration.

The first principle for U.S.-Mexican relations concerns national sovereignty. The Mexican president explained that many were of the opinion that Mexico should respond aggressively to the new U.S. administration, given Trump's campaign rhetoric towards Mexico. However, President Peña Nieto said that the solution is dialogue and negotiation. As such, Mexico would sit at the table with the U.S. and focus solely on its national interest and its people. Secondly, Mexico's relationship with the U.S. would be guided by mutual respect for the rule of law. The remaining three principles included a shared and constructive vision, integration of North America, and integral negotiation on trade, immigration, and security.

Given these principles, the Mexican president spelled out ten objectives Mexico will pursue in its relationship with the United States, six of which explicitly relate to immigration, the border, and or security.

  1. U.S. commitment to guarantee the humane treatment and respect for the rights of Mexican migrants.
  2. Any repatriation process of illegal aliens undertaken by the U.S. government should be organized and coordinated, and the agreements and protocols that are reached should be rooted in dignity and respect.
  3. The development of the hemisphere should be a shared responsibility. The Mexican and U.S. governments should assume a concrete commitment to work together to promote the development of Central America, taking into consideration the growing migratory flow from these countries.
  4. Ensure the free flow of remittances from Mexicans that live in the United States.
  5. The U.S. government must assume a commitment to work with Mexico to stop the flow of illegal arms and illicit money.
  6. Mexico will work for a border that unites, not one that divides. Mexico recognizes the rights of all sovereign countries to guarantee their security, but Mexico does not believe in walls. It believes in bridges. The border should be the best space for coexistence, security, prosperity, and shared growth.

President Peña Nieto also noted that he has instructed relevant government officials to reinforce its consulates in order to "defend and protect" Mexicans. His closing remarks further emphasized that the number one priority of the Mexican government will be to protect Mexicans at home and abroad.

The level of commitment to national interest expressed by the Mexican president is something that has been absent from U.S. immigration policy over the last eight years. However, President Trump anchored his campaign on this very concept, on an immigration system that best serves the United States and its people. Now it is time to see if this campaign promise will come to fruition.