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Obama to Talk Trade, Security, Immigration With Mexican President-elect

  • VOA News

Mexico's President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto delivers a speech during an event in Mexico City, November 14, 2012.

Mexico's President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto delivers a speech during an event in Mexico City, November 14, 2012.

U.S. President Barack Obama is hosting Mexico's President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto at the White House.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that immigration "might come up" during the Oval Office meeting.

He told reporters the president "believes that comprehensive immigration reform is achievable" and thinks it is "important not just for specific communities that would be affected by it, but for the American economy."

The Pew Research Center says about 12 million Mexicans live in the United States, with more than half lacking legal status.

Peña Nieto has criticized tough immigration laws in states such as Arizona, saying the laws fail to recognize immigrant contributions to the U.S. economy.

Boosting economic ties with the United States is expected to be part of Peña Nieto's agenda during the talks with President Obama. In an editorial published Friday in the Washington Post, the Mexican president-elect said it is a "mistake" to limit the U.S.-Mexico relationship to drugs and security concerns.

Announcing President Obama's meeting with Peña Nieto last week, the White House said the United States remains committed to working with Mexico to increase economic competitiveness, promote regional development, advance efforts to develop a "secure and efficient" 21st century border and address the two countries' common security challenges. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will also take part in the meeting.

More than 60,000 people have been killed in Mexico since outgoing President Felipe Calderon began a U.S.-backed military crackdown on drug gangs in late 2006.

Peña Nieto formally takes office on Saturday, after winning July's presidential election. His Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for 71 years, will be back in power for the first time in 12 years.
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