President Obama hosted a bilateral meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto (shown on left) of Mexico on January 6, during which he reportedly sought the Mexican leader’s advice on implementing administration policies on immigration and Cuba. The two were also expected to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The White House schedule noted that Obama and Peña Nieto would discuss “strengthening the strategic partnership between the United States and Mexico and advancing our common goals.”
A report on the meeting by the Washington Times noted that its focus was on Obama’s recent executive action granting deportation amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, as well as border security. The Times quoted an unnamed senior administration official who said on Monday that the two presidents’ agenda would include finding ways “to avoid a renewed surge of migrants this year and to minimize the number of people who undertake this dangerous trip.”
The official said illegal immigrants already in the United States who attempt to help their relatives cross the border illegally won’t be eligible for the new deportation amnesty. “Mexican consulates will play a key role in informing Mexican immigrants about who qualifies and who does not qualify for executive actions,” the official told reporters.
U.S. News cited a White House statement that the two leaders would discuss border security and additional measures that can be taken to restrict the flow of illegal border crossings. A campaign is also being implemented to provide information on the recent executive action on immigration that can be accessed by Mexicans so they can determine on how the new policy may impact them.
Obama also sought Peña Nieto’s support in pressuring Cuba to make democratic reforms following the recent administration policy change to reestablish diplomatic and commercial ties with the communist nation, reports AP. The longstanding U.S. policy of withholding diplomatic relations and banning trade with the island nation has been a point of disagreement with Mexico, which has normal ties with Cuba.
The normalization of relations with Cuba is not something that even all genuine constitutionalist conservatives agree on. The John Birch Society, with which The New American is affiliated, has long opposed aid to and trade with communist nations. However, former Representative Ron Paul and his son, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), believe such trade can have a beneficial effect on mending U.S. relations with such nations as China and Cuba. In contrast, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a Miami-born son of Cuban immigrants, stands with most of his fellow Cuban Americans in opposing any U.S. dealings with Cuba, so long as it remains under communist control. Though Rubio is often unreliable on important issues (e.g., he was one of the “Gang of Eight” that crafted the bipartisan bill in the Senate that would grant amnesty to illegal immigrants), he may well have chosen the better position on U.S.-Cuban relations.
U.S. News also reported that Obama and Peña Nieto would address the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an international trade deal currently under negotiation with 10 other nations. The report noted a most significant point sure to be among the two leader’s talking points:
Mexico has also elevated economics on the trilateral agenda with Canada. At the most recent North American Leaders Summit hosted by Mexico one year ago and at subsequent ministerial gatherings, the three governments have made substantial progress in areas such as commerce and energy. Most importantly, Mexico and Canada have been party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations since 2012, following intense lobbying by the pro-trade Mexican government. Once concluded, the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] will offer the best vehicle to upgrade the North American Free Trade Agreement [FTAA], now more than 20 years old.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are two of the best-known “free-trade” agreements that are more about surrendering U.S. sovereignty to regional quasi-governmental authorities than they are about genuine free trade, which occurs best in the absence of government regulations, not under reams of them. As Larry Greenley wrote in his August 28, 2013 article for The New American, “The ‘Free Trade’ Agenda Threatens Our Rights”:
Our nation has already experienced incremental losses of independence through its participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement. Not only has the economic integration stemming from the NAFTA agreement included NAFTA tribunals that are superior to the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving North American trade, but furthermore, NAFTA has provided a platform for initial steps in the political integration of the United States with Mexico and Canada, which is commonly referred to as building the North American Union (NAU; see our article “North American Union: From NAFTA to the NAU”).
Greenly goes on to warn about the TPP:
The Obama administration is currently negotiating two mammoth free trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP; see “Regional Scheme for the Pacific Rim”) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP; see “EU/U.S. — Transatlantic Convergence”). The TPP involves a free trade agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations, including Japan; a vote on congressional approval is expected as early as late 2013. The TTIP involves a free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union (EU); a vote by Congress could occur by 2015.
Greenley compared the present process of entangling our nation in these so-called free trade agreements with what happened in Europe in the 1950s. Beginning in 1951 with an agreement among six European nations as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the “free trade” pact evolved by 1957 into the European Economic Community (EEC, or Common Market). This pact eventually became known as the EU, composed of 28 formerly independent European nations. Greenley notes:
These 28 member states are virtually completely under the control of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Central Bank, and the Court of Justice of the European Union. And … the European Union is on a course to further strengthen its control over its 28 member states.
In our own 2013 article for The New American, “Permanent Amnesty, Temporary Border,” we noted the connection between the ongoing U.S. policy of providing repeated amnesties without enforcing the border and a broader agenda to establish a North American Union. We noted a report published by the internationalist Council on Foreign Relations entitled Building a North American Community. In the section of this report entitled “Creating a North American Economic Space,” under the subheading “Increase Labor Mobility Within North America,” we find the authors’ recommendation:
The large volume of undocumented migrants from Mexico within the United States is an urgent matter for those two countries to address. A long-term goal should be to create a ‘‘North American preference” — new rules that would make it much easier for employees to move and for employers to recruit across national boundaries within the continent. [Emphasis added.]
The report also proposed the establishment of a continent-wide, virtually borderless area reminiscent of the European Union during its formative stages. They also noted that “NAFTA was merely the first draft of an economic constitution for North America.”
As John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, said in 2007, “The Security and Prosperity Partnership is setting the stage for uniting the three nations of North America into a North American Union that will parallel for the West what the EU has done to Europe.”
Looking back at the EU, in 1985, five of the then 10 European Economic Community members signed the Schengen Agreement, which eliminated internal border controls with the other Schengen members, while strengthening external border controls with non-member states.
This arrangement closely resembled the proposed Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (more commonly referred to as the SPP) created at a tri-party summit held in Waco, Texas, on March 23, 2005 by Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and U.S. President George W. Bush. At a follow-up summit held in Montebello, Quebec, in August 2007, President Bush met with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderón. At the conclusion of the conference, Fox News reporter Bret Baier asked all three heads of government, “Can you say today that this is not a prelude to a North American Union, similar to a European Union?”
Bush accused the questioner of believing in a “conspiracy” and twice said he was “amused” by such speculation.
While today’s meeting between Obama and Peña Nieto may not have risen to the level of the meetings between former president Bush and his Canadian and Mexican counterparts in 2005 and 2007 (or the earlier meeting on December 17, 1992, when President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and Mexican President Carlos Salinas met in San Antonio, Texas to sign NAFTA), U.S. News reminds us that Mexico and Canada have been part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations since 2012, and that “once concluded, the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] will offer the best vehicle to upgrade the North American Free Trade Agreement [FTAA], now more than 20 years old.”
A statement posted on the White House website on January 6 confirmed the ongoing joint effort between the United States and Mexico to work towards the TPP:
Mexico and the United States also are close partners in the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, an historic undertaking intended to boost economic growth, development, and prosperity, and support additional jobs in both countries. We have made significant progress over the past year in setting the stage to finalize a high-standard and comprehensive agreement. With the end coming into focus, the United States, Mexico and the other 10 TPP countries are strongly committed to moving the negotiations forward to conclusion as soon as possible. The substantial new opportunities for U.S. and Mexican exporters that the TPP will offer will be enhanced by our work together in the HLED [High-Level Economic Dialogue].
As we noted, following the pattern used to establish the EU, key components of continental integration are eliminating both economic and political borders between nations. “Free trade” agreements such as NAFTA provide the first, and the Obama amnesty goes a long way toward accomplishing the second.
The timing of the Obama-Peña Nieto meeting, so soon after Obama’s amnesty-granting executive actions, seems very favorable for the two leaders to discuss these plans.
Photo of President Obama (right) and President Enrique Peña Nieto: AP Images