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Obama and Calderón agree: Arizona immigration law is wrong

President Obama tells Mexican President Felipe Calderón he opposes the Arizona immigration law and will seek comprehensive immigration reform. But he acknowledges that he'll need some Republican votes in Congress to succeed.

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In addressing the press, Calderón agreed with Obama that the issues confronting the US-Mexico relationship including immigration must be addressed with “co-responsibility.” But he stopped short of promising measures to block the movement of Mexicans north – no Mexican president ever would, since the Mexican constitution guarantees a right of movement – but he did commit to redoubling economic development efforts to afford Mexicans a prosperous life in their communities.

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Obama made little mention of the brutal drug war raging south of the border – and which Calderón touched off upon taking office three years ago by declaring war on the drug cartels that were operating with increasing impunity. But he hailed Calderón as “a leader who is guiding his country through very difficult times with vision and courage,” and he pledged expanded US support in the fight.

As drugs flow north, guns go south

Addressing an issue of particular frustration to Mexico – the flow of high-powered illegal weapons south into the hands of the cartel leaders’ thugs – Obama said that US law enforcement agents are now inspecting “at considerable expense” 100 percent of rail cargos moving south across the border. More action is being taken against illegal arms dealers, he asserted.

Calderón and his wife, Margarita Zavala, will be honored at a White House state dinner Wednesday, and on Thursday the Mexican leader addresses a joint session of Congress.

At the White House, Calderón said he brought with him the “respectful and affectionate” greetings of the Mexican people, and he lauded the “open and frank” dialogue the two neighboring countries have.

That message will carry over to the congressional address, when Calderón is expected to frankly address the Mexican perspective of the immigration issue and to offer a reminder that the drug trade afflicting Mexico is largely aimed at a market north of the border.

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