"It takes leadership because most politicians in the United States don’t want to lead on this. They look at McCain and they say, 'Look what happened to him.' Who wants to take a leadership position on this and then get slammed in Iowa?"
In an interview, former Foreign Minister of Mexico Jorge Castañeda talks about his new book Ex Mex: From Migrants to Immigrants with AS/COA Online Managing Editor Carin Zissis. Talking before an AS/COA event, Castañeda, who played a firsthand role in attempts to pass a U.S.-Mexican immigration agreement during the Fox administration, says passage of immigration reform will depend on election of a U.S. leader “with more political capital than Bush has.”
The author and political analyst, now a professor of politics and Latin American studies at New York University, also says the need for a decision on comprehensive immigration reform will become increasingly apparent: “It’s either regression—with all the dangers and the outrages of separating women from their children, of deporting people, of raiding houses—or it’s reform.”
AS/COA: In the book, you discuss how immigration reform became central to Mexican foreign policy after [former President Vicente] Fox came to power. Meanwhile, in the United States there has been this turn towards nativism. Given the implied conflict here, what will it take for immigration reform to move forward?