Government

Connie Mack Calls for Greater Cooperation from Mexico to Secure the Border

Florida congressman meets with Mexican president to talk about combating drugs and illegal aliens
By: Kevin Derby | Posted: May 24, 2011 3:55 AM

Connie Mack

Connie Mack

Florida Republican Congressman Connie Mack, chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, called for greater cooperation with Mexico to combat the flow of illegal drugs and to stem the number of Mexicans illegally entering the United States.

Mack received a good deal of attention last year when he opposed the Arizona immigration law, even comparing it to policies enacted by Nazi Germany. The congressman, who had contemplated entering the Republican primary to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, joined fellow Sunshine State Republican former Gov. Jeb Bush to oppose efforts to bring a similar law to Florida.

Over the weekend, as he wrapped up leading a congressional delegation visiting the region, Mack met with key leaders in Mexico City and Juarez City -- including Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Attorney General Marisela Morales. While Mack praised the Calderon administration’s efforts to combat drug lords in Mexico, he added that more needed to be done. After meeting with the Mexican officials, the Florida congressman headed north to Laredo, Texas, where he met with border-patrol officials and observed their operations used to secure the border.

In a statement issued Monday, Mack called for greater cooperation between the United States and Mexico to combat drug lords and secure the border.

"We need a comprehensive and targeted approach in Mexico to ensure that U.S. taxpayers' dollars are spent effectively, creating real change that reduces cross-border violence and secures our southern border,” said Mack. “It is vital that the U.S.-Mexico relationship continues to increase cooperation to combat the transnational criminal organizations, and fosters judicial reform.”

Mack also praised Americans in the front lines in the battle to secure the border.

“The men and women that make up our U.S. Customs and Border Patrol are incredibly brave and work to make the U.S. a safer place,” added Mack. “I thank them for their service.”

Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which is looking to reform immigration laws and make it tougher for illegal aliens to enter the U.S., took some exception to Mack’s comments.

“FAIR supports all constructive efforts to work with Mexico to stem cross-border violence and other illegal activities,” Mehlman noted to Sunshine State News on Tuesday. “However, FAIR rejects the idea that U.S. immigration policy is a bilateral issue. The Mexican government has consistently demanded a voice in U.S. immigration policy. Controlling who enters our country, under what conditions, and what benefits should be afforded people who are in our country illegally is a domestic policy and should not be subject to interference by any foreign government.”

The congressional delegation that Mack led -- which included fellow Florida Republican U.S. Rep. David Rivera -- also visited Panama and Colombia last week. Mack met with both Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli and renewed his call for the White House to send free-trade agreements with those Latin Americans to Congress. Both Mack and Rivera pointed the blame at the Obama administration for allowing the agreements to stall.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.


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