The Split Personality of Immigration Reform and Trade Expectations with Mexico

President Obama still insists immigration reform would help a U.S. partnership with Mexico. But when will immigration reform pass?

Recently, President Obama made it clear that getting hung up on border issues was not a smart move. Rather, he stated the best solution to the issues of the day were to ensure legal immigration and trade were actively encouraged.

On many fronts, millions of Americans agree with him. On the political front, that is often another story — so much so that there has still been no date determined or discussed for the advent of the much promised immigration reform.
Over refrains of wishful thinking about getting immigration reform done now, because the time is ripe, many are left wondering when that time may be. Obama is still making speeches extolling the virtues of reform, but there is still no concrete movement on the issue in the House. It would be hard to ascertain any movement one way or another amidst the political diatribe and arguing over how to approach the task as a whole.

While there is still optimism reform will pass this year, one wonders how long that optimism will last in the face of all the detours on the way to the finish line. Obama’s trip to Mexico and Costa Rica was designed to emphasize how crucial economic ties are between the countries.

A great deal of ground was covered, including the discussions of ways to expand the bilateral partnership between Mexico and the States, the formation a group on higher education, research and innovation, and various commitments relating to international relations and energy security.

There is every reason to move immigration reform along at a much faster clip when the annual trade figures between the two countries is in excess of $500 billion annually. The United States is Mexico’s largest customer and Mexico is the second-largest U.S. export market.

The final question of the day is whether or not the politicians are able to set aside their party line disputes and move forward as one entity to deal with immigration reform. Currently, despite what the President may be saying, it does not appear that forward movement is the order of the day. And how does that eventually impact on trade with Mexico? It’s a question well worth considering in some depth.

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