The other campaign – El Financiero

Mexico once again faces a simultaneous electoral process with that of the United States, this happens from time to time, this happened in the year 2000, with Bush who beat Al-Gore, on that occasion President Fox was the winner; In 2012, President Obama was re-elected and Enrique Peña Nieto became president in Mexico. This year, President Joe Biden will seek re-election, in a complicated process where Republicans have not yet defined their candidate. Among the contenders will be former President Trump, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and Florida Governor Ron De Santis. This poses a difficult scenario that requires careful analysis, since the definitions made will be key to bilateral coexistence and will undoubtedly affect the performance of the Mexican economy.

This coincidence will have a strong impact on the Mexican presidential campaign, since the Mexican candidates will have to define their position clearly on the bilateral relationship and will not be able to abstract themselves from taking a definition on the conflicts that the United States has been supporting in the world. As is the case with the war in Ukraine, which has been prolonged and with no resolution in sight, and they will also have to define their position on the conflict in Israel and the war with Hamas, they are not issues that they will be able to avoid, they will have to define your position which will mark your position on the country’s foreign policy.

For Mexico, without a doubt, the relationship is strategic and increasingly closer; the interconnection of economic activities has been growing with the nearshoring policy. During September 2023, a maximum level of shipments to the United States was reached: 82.7% of Mexican exports went to our northern neighbor, in this way Mexico’s trade with the United States continues its positive streak, and at the same time we are more sensitive to the cycles that their economy faces.

In the bilateral relationship there are multiple problems, however, there are two that have become strategic problems: migration and the complicated problem of arms trafficking that feeds drug cartels and strengthens these criminal groups. On migration, it will be necessary to reach an agreement to avoid conflict. In recent years this situation has become complicated due to various circumstances, among others because the US government has been unable to design a medium-term strategy and this has resulted in an escalation in border conflicts.

The most successful exercise in immigration has been that of H-2A visas, which allow US employers or agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to hire Mexicans to fill temporary employment positions in agriculture. The procedure is that an employer, or a US agent as described in the regulations, or a US association of agricultural producers referred to as a joint employer, must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker on behalf of the prospective employee. This has allowed agricultural workers from Mexico to travel to the United States without problems. On November 17, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) published a joint temporary final rule increasing the maximum number (cap) of H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 64,716 additional visas. for the entire fiscal year 2024. This visa expansion will require very precise coordination so that the visas are effectively used; this will be one of the points of debate in the US campaign. However, these visas are not exclusive to Mexico, but are granted to other nationalities. The next government will have to seek to expand them to migrants from the region and thereby reduce the flow of undocumented migrants. This will not be easy since various forces in the United States clamor to limit them and instead pass laws to restrict migration and even suggest mass deportations as is the case with the Abbot Law.

We are at a crossroads in the relationship between the United States and Mexico, we have to motivate the US government to value the bilateral relationship at another level and establish real limits on arms trafficking, to organize the border not as a battlefield, but as a scheme of coexistence between two countries that maintain an extensive commercial relationship. These months will not be easy; it is perceived that the presidential campaign in the United States will make extensive use of migration problems. In this way, the campaign will be the scene of extreme positions on the part of the different political forces. We hope that Mexico will be constructive and with new ideas to generate a more stable relationship, one that is more in line with the nearshoring relationship advocated by the US government, but that it is necessary to land on all levels, not just the discursive one.