Three Topics Likely To Be Discussed During Mexico's White House Visit
John Rosman
November 26, 2012

On Tuesday, Mexico's president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto will be visiting the White House. The U.S.-Mexico relationship is vital to both countries. In the U.S. some six million jobs depend on trade with Mexico. Broadly, we share a war that’s devastated parts of Mexico and is fueled by an American demand for drugs. We share a border that continues to be a symbolic line of security and changing demographics. And we share a generation that’s influencing American politics.

Although sometimes ignored, a solid relationship is essential for both countries

There is much to talk about during Tuesday’s visit. But here are three things we think may be discussed: border security, legalized marijuana and Mexican cartels.

Border Security

The line separating the two countries is a prime target for drug and human smuggling. The two leaders will discuss the economic realities of securing the border and the recent shootings that have plagued the border region and harmed bilateral relations.

What’s happening now?

Border shootings are on the rise and many remain unresolved.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency recently locked in a five-year deal with a San Diego-area aeronautical company for as much as $443 million. An estimated $237 million would fund a new fleet of border drones.

Apprehensions of illegal immigrants along the Arizona border are at their lowest point in 17 years.

Legalized Pot

Marijuana is now “legal” in Washington state and Colorado. What this means on the federal level is still to be determined. But we do know pot legalization in the U.S. has become a topic of concern for Mexico.

What’s happening now?

The Mexican administration has already questioned how it will enforce a ban in Mexico on growing and smuggling a drug that is now legal under some U.S. state laws.

Debate is now focused on how legalization could indirectly affect cartel profits. It's not that cartels are losing their US clients, it's the threat of competition with a larger domestic marijuana trafficking-ring that is most serious.

Mexican Cartels

Cartels continue to be a powerful force of influence in Mexico and the are play a huge role in the international perception of that country. Although deaths along the border have decreased in recent months, the cartels still maintain a stranglehold on much of the country.

What’s happening now?

The faces of young women missing in Ciudad Juárez are now imprinted on tortilla paper wrapping. It's the government's way of ensuring this serious problem gets daily attention. But the response may be too little, too late.

A new survey released by consulting firm Vianovo polled 1,000 Americans about their attitudes toward the Mexico. The results are not flattering: