Why Mexico welcomes Obama's plan to send 1,200 US troops to border
Departing from its complaints about the Arizona immigration law, Mexico cautiously welcomes President Barack Obama's plan to send 1,200 troops to the border.
In Pictures The scene at the US/Mexico border
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Unlike President Felipe Calderon’s fiery opposition to Arizona’s immigration law or his calls for a new immigration policy, Mexico’s official reaction to the deployment of US National Guardsmen near the border has been measured, even as the public response has been mixed.
The troops will “strengthen efforts to combat transnational organized crime," the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement, which predicted the guardsmen will not be involved in immigration enforcement. The ministry also wrote of a “shared responsibility” in fighting drug traffickers and called for additional resources to prevent arms and cash smuggling into Mexico.
Some Mexicans said they respected the United States’ right to send armed forces to protect its citizens. Mexico, after all, is battling drug cartels on this side of the border. Others saw it as a ruse to target undocumented migrants:
“This is not just about catching drug traffickers. They are out to get illegal immigrants and the narcos are just an excuse,” said Carmen Rodriguez, 49, a translator from Mexico City who has family members in Boston. “There will be more violence at the border.”
Obama administration officials said the troops won’t conduct searches for illegal immigrants, but will gather intelligence, work on surveillance support and train local law enforcement. Obama will also ask Congress for $500 million for law-enforcement in the region.
An editorial in the local newspaper La Cronica de Hoy, said the National Guard deployment coupled with recent news that legislation is moving forward in 14 US states to crack down on illegal immigrants is "more than worrying."