Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama in Mexico City

President Barack Obama's meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon was smothered in the press with emphasis on drug and gun running. Both presidents were outspoken in the support of renewed efforts by both countries to join forces in taking on the drug cartel. On immigration -- the real issue between the two nations -- there were only bland remarks of how good immigration has been for the U.S. Undoubtedly behind closed doors there were more serious discussion. But with the U.S. deeply divided on how to move on immigration reform, many thought it politically safer to hit the hot button issues of drugs and guns. (See Chicago Tribune article.)

The pressure of growing unemployment had moved the voters of St. Helens, Ore, to pass a referendum fining employers of undocumented workers $10,000 for each hire. The law is being challenged in court. With the timber industry and the paper mills around town laying off workers since the fall, the sponsor the ordinance said it would drive the undocumented back to Mexico. It hasn't yet, but a few might be drifting to friendlier nearby towns where there still are jobs. They are not leaving to return home. (Read about the St. Helens story in Time Magazine.)

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