The President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, and U.S. President Barack Obama have been meeting to discuss border protection, trade and travel agreements. These three countries agree that strengthening their relationships by streamlining trade and managing border controls is a top priority.
At the North American Leaders Summit, the heads of the three countries focused on the effect the major trade agreement known as NAFTA has had on the economies of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. in the 20 years since it was enacted. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) still monitors and negotiates the trade agreements between these countries, and since 2013 President Obama has hopes that the negotiations regarding trade will be concluded in 2014. White House correspondents have stated that the U.S. president wants to protect American workers and the environment as well as benefit the economy.
The leaders also discussed border protection and how it has both indirect and direct impacts on immigration and migration between these countries. Mexico has seen more than 11 million of its citizens migrate to the U.S., but in the past few years, the numbers have decreased due to the issues with deportation and immigration reform in the United States. Because immigration legislation is not as widely supported in the Republican-controlled House, despite President Obama’s pleas for comprehensive reform, many Mexicans are choosing not to come to the U.S.
Some Latino groups in the U.S. have criticized the record number of deportations that have occurred during President Obama’s administration. However, despite the criticism, Obama’s spokespeople have stated that the president is committed to fair immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living and working in the country.