U.S.-Mexico relations: too important to be left to presidents?

by Arturo Gandara, Caesar Sereseres

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Meetings between Mexico's President Portillo and President Carter have been substantively unrewarding and few changes to better U.S.-Mexican relations have resulted. The authors suggest that U.S.-Mexican relations have become too complex to be left to presidential meetings, and they point out that the new consultative mechanism, made up of working groups on trade, finance, energy, border cooperation, immigration, tourism, industry, and legal affairs offer a new way to settle differences. However, it should not depend on coordination by the Special Ambassador. It needs sustained presidential attention. Chicanos are becoming increasingly important in the U.S.-Mexican dialogue. The Chicano community is moving beyond immigration matters to other interests, and will not remain an uncritical ally of either Mexico or Washington as it begins to pursue its interests. The tensions in U.S.-Mexican relations will increase in the 1980s, the linkages between issues will become more apparent, and the Chicano element will have greater impact.

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