Mexico’s Pena Nieto Attempts to Burnish Image With Washington Visit

Mexico’s Pena Nieto Attempts to Burnish Image With Washington Visit
U.S. President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in the Oval Office, Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2015 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was in Washington last week for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama. The visit came in the wake of Obama’s executive order protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and his decision to loosen the decades-old embargo on Cuba, both of which won him favor in Mexico and across Latin America. Meanwhile, Pena Nieto has faced a difficult six months, following the massacre of 43 students in the southern city of Iguala and a series of scandals relating to railway contracts and his wife’s mansion.

Immigration was at the top of the agenda, with Pena Nieto praising Obama’s executive order and saying that Mexico will help immigrants with the necessary documentation to prevent deportation. For his part, Obama acknowledged the role Mexico played in addressing the spike in unaccompanied migrant children from Central America last summer.

According to Michael Allison, who wrote about the migration crisis for World Politics Review last July:

Approximately 60,000 unaccompanied minors—children under 18 traveling without an adult—have been apprehended at the U.S. border since Oct. 1, overwhelming an immigration system designed to handle 6,000 to 7,000 in that time. Another 39,000 families, mostly women and children, have been taken into custody during the same period.

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