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Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan talks about the affiliation between the U.S. and Mexico as Cinco De Mayo approaches.
>>> at home and among our neighbors in mexico . president obama addressed the holiday and the bonds between our two countries on thursday.
>> the united states and mexico have lived intersecting and overlapping histories. our two countries share the ties of history and familia and commerce and culture and values and today, we are more united than ever. in friendship and in common purpose.
>> ambassador arturo sarukhan serves as mexico ambassador to the united states . thank you very much. happy cinco de mayo a day in advance. one of the things you said in your speech yesterday about cinco de mayo was that immigration reform is the unfinished business between our two countries. and you talked about the fact that there are 11 million people living in the shadows. i talked earlier to hilda solis, the labor secretary about this but the argument you get from democrats, from the white house is that oh, it’s the republicans on the hill. the argument you get from the republicans is that the white house won’t negotiate. what is your perspective looking at us?
>> well, look, this is probably the most important single issue in the u.s.- mexico bilateral relationship. nothing will have a more profound impact on the future prosperity, well-being and security of north america of mexico and the united states than getting immigration right. but it is a very toxic and very polar rising issue more so in an election. and more so when so many americans are hurting and out of a job. these issues are very tough to handle and there are people on both sides of the aisle that i think are fully committed to getting this done. the challenge is timing. and the equation, how you put this together so combined all the different groups that have a specific interest in getting immigration done, but that need to come together and agree to big single holistic deal.
>> immigration, illegal immigration is down. is that because of border security or is that because more jobs are available and the economy has improved so much in mexico ?
>> this is probably the most important story that is happening today on the u.s.- mexico border which americans are not focusing on. there’s a dramatic drop from undocumented immigration from 2006 to 2011 , we’ve seen a 60% drop in documented immigration. there has just been a report issued by the pew hispanic institute that states what a lot of us had already been seeing that net migration from mexico is zero if not negative. that means that more people are going back than people actually coming across the border. it’s a mix of reasons. certainly a softer u.s. economy especially in the construction sector which has traditionally been a magnet for undocumented labor has to do with it. greater operational control of the border. something a lot of people don’t want to focus on but which is a reality. the pernicious and very troubling musclealing in of organized crime into human trafficking on the border and the impact that has on the well-being and security of migrants. i think the most important reason is that over 15 years, as a result of sustained sound macro economic policies in mexico , one of the largest free trade agreement networks that any country has on the face of the earth by generating export-related job creation and by what is probably by world bank bench marks the most successful extreme poverty aleviation program on the face of the earth. these things combined with a profound shift in the demographics of mexico is expanding the middle classes , is creating better jobs. and is locking in or anchoring people who may be a year ago, two years ago would have decided to cross the border. they’re staying home.
>> we’re anticipating of course, in june premium court decision on immigration. and the indications from the oral arguments and it’s always difficult to guess, are that the court may uphold some of the more extreme measures . how will that be viewed south of the border ?
>> look, this is an issue that as you can well imagine has garnered a lot of attention in mexico . i think that mexico in the past and we continue to say it, i think that we fully agree to the fact that any country has the right to establish whatever immigration policy it deems fit, but we do believe also that that’s a responsibility of the federal government . and we think that some of these laws, arizona, and a lot of people have forgotten alabama, may be one of the worst pieces of legislation out there and are poisoning the well spring of values of bonds that connect these two countries. it is a very big challenge.
>> let me ask you finally about the violence because as a member of the committee to protect journalists i have to tell you, there’s terrible concern for reporters and photographers in veracruz state murdered only this week. what can we do about what’s happening? it seems to be the targeting by these criminals of reporters and photographers.
>> first of all, we have to do anything in our power to defend journalists who are doing their job and a lot of them do become the target of organized crime that is either seeking to silence them or to ensure that the stories don’t come out. we have to find ways to protect these journalists more importantly we have to build mechanisms in which we can investigate and prosecute a swiftly and as quickly as possible because a society where a free press is muzzled because of intimidation or fear senior a society that’s in trouble.
>> arturo, sarakhan, thank you very much for joining us today.
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