Reaffirming a Strong Commitment to the United States-Mexico Partnershipby Representative Eliot L. Engel
Posted on 2017-12-12
ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this measure.
Mr. Speaker, I thank our chairman, Ed Royce, for working with me to bring this measure to the floor, and I thank Congressman McCaul, the lead Republican sponsor of this resolution, as well. I am pleased to be the lead sponsor on this resolution.
After more than a decade of good progress in the U.S.-Mexico partnership, this year we have seen some things change course in a troubling way. It is a problem, and it needs to be stopped. That is why I offer this measure reaffirming our strong commitment to our relationship with Mexico. We don't want anyone there to have any kinds of questions. We believe in a strong U.S.-Mexico relationship.
Mr. Speaker, I also thank our ranking member on the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Mr. Sires, and Mr. Castro for their efforts on this resolution and their support day in and day out for a robust U.S.- Mexico partnership.
Mr. Speaker, it is hard to overstate how important the U.S.-Mexico relationship is and the tremendous impact it has on Americans every single day. Mexico is a friend and ally. Mexico is our third largest trading partner. It is a country with which we share deep person-to- person, family, and cultural ties, and it is a country where we have painstakingly cultivated a vibrant, critical relationship between our two countries.
Over the past century, there have been many highs and lows in the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes, recently, we have had a lot of lows with talk about building walls and other derogatory talk about Mexicans. We don't want that to continue. We want to establish and reaffirm the strong U.S.-Mexico relationship.
In 2007, I became chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. That was the same day that the Merida Initiative was announced by Presidents Bush and Calderon, which led to a new level of security cooperation between the United States and Mexico.
That effort wasn't perfect then and it isn't today. The civilian toll of Mexico's drug war is still far too high, and human rights violations at the federal, state, and local level in Mexico remain a serious problem. But what we gained from the Merida Initiative was an entirely new way of collaborating with the Mexican Government on a wide range of security issues.
Presidents Obama and Pena Nieto built on Merida's foundation, and one of the results was a remarkable achievement in the last hours of the Obama administration, which was the extradition of drug kingpin ``El Chapo'' Guzman to my hometown of New York City to stand trial. Without a strong U.S.-Mexico partnership, that would not have been possible. A decade ago, it probably would not have happened at all.
And while we absolutely don't need to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on a 2,000-mile-long wall against our southern border, what we do need is to maintain our partnership on security matters with the Mexican Government.
We want the Mexican Government to continue to reach out to us with information regarding suspected terrorists. We want to say that the Mexican Government will cooperate with us and extradite the next drug kingpin to the United States, and it goes on and on. So we cannot overemphasize just how important the U.S.-Mexico partnership is and how it keeps Americans safe on a day-to-day basis.
H. Res. 336 underscores the importance of a U.S.-Mexico relationship built on mutual respect. Mutual respect means building bridges, not walls, between our two countries; it means recognizing the vast contributions of Mexican Americans to our country and not classifying an entire population as drug dealers and rapists; it means not singling out an esteemed judge based solely on his race.
Congress has an important opportunity today to be the adult in the room and let the Mexican Government and the Mexican people know that our relationship with them is very, very important and will continue to be important. Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this measure. I am pleased that we have support for this on both sides of the aisle.
I thank Chairman Royce, as always, for his cooperation and his partnership, and I reserve the balance of my time.