President Barack Obama departed on a three-day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica on May 2 to discuss economic ties and immigration reform with local officials. Obama wants a strong relationship with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to help secure the Mexican border and have discussions centered on boosting the Mexican economy in order to prevent immigrants from illegally entering the United States.
“A lot of the focus is going to be on economics,” Obama said during a news conference April 30. “We’ve spent so much time on security issues between the United States and Mexico that sometimes I think we forget this is a massive trading partner responsible for huge amounts of commerce and huge numbers of jobs on both sides of the border. We want to see how we can deepen that, how we can improve that and maintain that economic dialogue over a long period of time.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been working to improve trade between the two nations, and NPR reports that 6 million U.S. jobs now depend on commerce with Mexico. The president will deliver a speech at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City on May 3 to outline the path forward for the two neighboring countries.
According to NPR, Obama’s visit will help Nieto showcase the economic improvements that Mexico has gained in the past few years. The per capita gain has gone from $7,900 in 2011 to $10,146 at present day. Still, there is much need for a change in the judicial system to prevent corruption and ensure that human rights are improved.
In his trip to Costa Rica to follow, Obama will have a meeting with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, as well as talk with local leaders in different parts of Central America, according to ABC News. He hopes to discuss security, immigration and economic issues with leaders of countries like Belize, Honduras and Guatemala.