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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.

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Mexican drug trafficking analyst Jorge Chabat said the new measure won’t hurt US-Mexico relations, but neither will they stop the flow of drugs and undocumented migrants, as smugglers will find new routes into the United States.

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“The U.S. government has spent over a decade taking similar measures, placing the National Guard at the border and building a wall, but there is no significant impact on the flow of drugs or undocumented workers,” said Chabat, of Mexico City’s Center for Economic Research and Teaching.

The Obama administration said that illegal border crossings have slowed, but analysts say that is thanks to a weak economy, not increased security.
“This is long overdue,” said George W.Grayson, a professor of government at the College of William & Mary who studies Mexico-US relations. “Our current law enforcement agents at the border simply cannot handle the pressures that come from human smugglers, illegal immigrants and drug traffickers.”

Raul Calles, a 65-year-old public administration consultant in Mexico City said his country’s elected officials are to blame for not reining in drug violence and leaving Obama with no choice but to send in troops.

Calles said that a history of foreign invasions in Mexico leaves him uneasy with a militarized US border and that he doubts the National Guard will do anything to help his country -- by, say, stopping the flow of US weapons into Mexico.

“If Obama is doing this, it’s not because he cares about Mexico, but it’s for his own interests.”

IN PICTURES: The US/Mexico border