Mexico Briefing: A Forecast for Improved Bilateral Relations through Congressional Action

The following text summarizes the Mexico Briefing held on Feb. 25 at the law offices of Fulbright & Jaworski. Click here to view a video of the Briefing.

Original Invitation

Description

The latest Mexico Briefing organized by the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law featured presentations by members of Congress from both Mexico and the United States, as well as commentary by a leading Mexican political analyst.  With recently elected Congresses in both countries, the opportunity exists for legislative action on both sides of the border that may either promote or hinder U.S. – Mexican legal relations.   The discussion --  “The New Politics of Mexico and the United States: A Forecast for Improved Bilateral Relations”-- took place at the law offices of Fulbright & Jaworski, and was co-sponsored by the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law and the Latin America Initiative at Rice University’s Baker Institute. 

William Wood, a partner at the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski, welcomed the participants, and Dr. Tony Payan, a Baker Institute Scholar for Immigration and Border Studies, moderated the symposium.

 The first guest speaker, Agustín Barrios Gómez (PRD-Mexico City), is a member of Mexico’s Cámara de Diputados (House of Representatives), and he sits on the Cámara’s Foreign Relations Committee.   He emphasized the importance of U.S. – Mexican relations to both countries:  “The United States and Mexico are the most integrated countries on the planet.  Mexico is a fundamental part of North America, and it is a function of our security that the U.S. and Mexico understand each other.”

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, noted that more than $1.2 billion of trade in goods and services takes place each day between the U.S. and Mexico. In addition, he said more than 6 million jobs are a product of the relationship between the two countries.
“The Rio Grande does not divide us,” Cuellar said. “It unites us.”
Cuellar stressed the importance of the trade relationship between the neighboring countries, and specifically pointed out the relevance of the exchange for Texas. The border towns understand it, but Mexico City and Washington do not always appreciate the depth of the interrelationship. In his opinion, Mexico and the United States—along with Canada—should aim to create not only a free–trade area, but a true trading block.

Dr. Luis Rubio, a leading political analyst based in Mexico City, analyzed the new political climate in Mexico after last year’s elections.  The current Mexican presidential administration has incentives to push for such change and reform rather than maintain the status quo, political analyst Dr. Luis Rubio explained. “Mexican society has changed, and freedoms have expanded,” Rubio said. “Mexico has enormous potential and opportunity, but it has to be managed well.”

Willie Wood, litigation partner at Fulbright & Jaworski and host of the briefing, with Congressman Cuellar

Willie Wood, litigation partner at Fulbright & Jaworski and host of the briefing, with Congressman Cuellar

Congressman Henry Cuellar addressed U.S. – Mexico relations

Congressman Henry Cuellar addressed U.S. – Mexico relations

Mexican Congressman Agustín Barrios Gómez discusses Mexico’s legislative agenda

Mexican Congressman Agustín Barrios Gómez discusses Mexico's legislative agenda

Dr. Luis Rubio comments on political developments in Mexico

Dr. Luis Rubio comments on political developments in Mexico

Dr. Tony Payan, moderator of the session

Dr. Tony Payan, moderator of the session

Dr. Luis Rubio, Congressman Cuellar, and Diputado Barrios Gómez respond to questions

Dr. Luis Rubio, Congressman Cuellar, and Diputado Barrios Gómez respond to questions

left to right, Luis Rubio, Henry Cuellar, Agustín Barrios Gómez, Stephen Zamora (Director of the Center), Tony Payan

left to right, Luis Rubio, Henry Cuellar, Agustín Barrios Gómez, Stephen Zamora (Director of the Center), Tony Payan

Congressman Cuellar answers questions

Congressman Cuellar answers questions

Ewell E. (Pat) Murphy, a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for US and Mexican Law, asks a question of Congressman Cuellar

Ewell E. (Pat) Murphy, a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for US and Mexican Law, asks a question of Congressman Cuellar

Dr. Jerónimo Cortina, Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston, addresses a question to Agustín Barrios Gómez

Dr. Jerónimo Cortina, Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston, addresses a question to Agustín Barrios Gómez

Stephen Zamora,  Congressman Cuellar, and Ignacio Pinto-León, Assistant Director of the Center for US and Mexican Law

Stephen Zamora,  Congressman Cuellar, and Ignacio Pinto-León, Assistant Director of the Center for US and Mexican Law

Congressman Cuellar with Carmen Cuellar (no relation), the Executive Assistnt of the Center for US and Mexican Law

Congressman Cuellar with Carmen Cuellar (no relation), the Executive Assistnt of the Center for US and Mexican Law