President Calderon at the White House: Immigration and More on the Agenda
Mexican president Felipe Calderon will visit the White House Thursday for his second visit to Washington since President Obama took office, and with the recent death of I.C.E. agent Jaime Zapata fresh in the memories of many Americans, it's possible the issue of U.S. agents carrying guns inside of Mexico, as well as illegal immigration and the war against drugs could be some of the topics on the agenda.
Earlier this year, I.C.E. agent Zapata was shot and killed in Mexico City, after being targeted by drug gangs. The Mexican government does not allow U.S. law enforcement officials to carry weapons, but after Zapata's death many administration officials are questioning the policy. Both Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have mentioned in recent days that the policy should be examined. Senior Administration officials wouldn't comment on the topic, and punted on whether or not it will be discussed Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the on-going issue of illegal immigration continues to haunt the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship. The White House says it's a "topic that has been high on the agenda" each time the two leaders have met and "undoubtedly" the two presidents will discuss immigration. But, the administration is aware the issue can't be solved at only one end of Pennsylvania Avenue. A Senior Administration Official made clear, again, the president's commitment to passing legislation "in a bi-partisan fashion" and in a way that holds everyone from lawmakers to employers to immigrants responsible for their actions.
Earlier this week in Washington, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, the first to hold the position, told an audience at Georgetown University that it's time to make something happen in regards to immigration."At some point in time you've got to say to yourself, 'We're not sending 12 million people home,'" the former Republican governor of Pennsylvania said. "Let's get over it. ... We're not going to send them home, so let's just figure out a way to legitimize their status, create a new system, and I think that will add more to border security than any number of fences we can put across the border."President Obama and President Calderon will have plenty of time to answer questions about all these topics at the White House Thursday when the two leaders meet in the West Wing.