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Tough topics face Obama, Calderon


May 18, 2010

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Mexico's drug-war violence and Arizona's new immigration law face U.S. President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon when they meet this week.

There are "very difficult and intractable issues on the bilateral agenda" when Calderon and his wife, Margareta Zavala, visit Washington for two days beginning Wednesday, David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, told USA Today in an article published Tuesday.

On Thursday, Calderon will address lawmakers considering a broad overhaul of U.S. immigration policy in a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill.

Obama and Calderon first met as presidents more than a year ago in Mexico City when Obama pledged greater U.S. cooperation in Calderon's crackdown on his country's drug lords. This year, first lady Michelle Obama traveled to Mexico for her first solo diplomatic trip.

Despite some tensions, "U.S.-Mexico relations are at an all-time high," Shirk said, because the presidents agree on most "thorny" issues, including border security and Calderon's escalation of the Mexican drug war.

Calderon likely will seek more public -- and financial -- support from Obama, said Denise Dresser, a political science professor at Mexico City's Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico.

"He wants American validation," Dresser said for an escalating, violent war showing no sign of abating soon that has become "increasingly unpopular at home."




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