Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto decried a “discriminatory” nature to the immigration reform debate in the U.S., telling CNN the relationship between the two countries is “a lot broader” than the one issue.
“The number of daily crossings, legal crossings, every day. About a million people every day, legal crossings that come. People coming and going from one country to the other because of work and trade and the trade level that we have which is so broad which we will probably talk about,” the president said.
When asked by Fareed Zakaria if some of the rhetoric around the debate was “racist,” Nieto replied, “I think it’s discriminatory, yes, and I think it’s unfortunate for a country whose formation and historic origin relies so much on the migration flows of many parts, Europe, Asia, for instance.”
“I think this is a country whose origin to a great extent is one of migration and that’s why it’s unfortunate to hear this exclusionary and discriminatory tone regarding the migration flows into the United States,” he continued. “Today we have to recognize that the migration that comes from Mexico to the United States has fallen.”
“There is a lower number of migrants to balance between those who are coming to the United States and those going back to Mexico is practically a zero balance today, and that reflects the fact that in Mexico we are opening greater opportunities for those who don’t want to leave their country or those who have no need to go looking for a new opportunity of personal or professional growth.”
He said he is “certain” that his reforms are “going to bring Mexico greater growth, more opportunities for jobs and professional development for more Mexicans and that this will allow us to have more progress.”
Nieto also maintained that legalization of marijuana in the U.S. would cause more problems instead of removing the criminal element from the equation.
Just last week, the Border Patrol caught a truck driver trying to smuggle $1.67 million worth of marijuana through the Nogales crossing.
“I instead think that this is a door of access to drug consumption to the most harmful drugs and it eventually will generate an environment of more violence as well, and we will have to see in those states that have already legalized marijuana consumption what social behaviors are they seeing and if whatever gave way to this eventual legalization in those states, has it really resulted in the economic benefits for those states and for society at large?” Nieto said. “I don’t think that is the case. However, I do insist we have to hold a debate with evidence showing exactly what is happening throughout the world and what is also happening in the states of the American Union where they have legalized it.”