AÂ report on NPR’s weekend edition of “All Things Considered” today had me staring at my radio in slack-jawed, gobsmack-edness today.
It covered a upcoming visit to the U.S. by Mexico’s President Calderon. (Listen here.) It opened by stating:
Mexican president Felipe Calderon will tour the United States this week, but he’s not likely to meet with President Bush or the presidential contenders. Instead, Calderon is heading to cities with large Mexican immigrant populations. Calderon has a message of support for those immigrants, who still play an important role in domestic Mexican politics.
The report went on to point out that “ex-patriots” were an important voting block in electing Calderon to the Mexican presidency and that the billionsÂ of dollars theyÂ Western UnionÂ back across the border each year isÂ a vital component of the Mexican economy.
As the report makes clear, in a very real sense President Calderon is touring major cities in the U.S. to visit his constituents. And there are tens of millions of them. As the NPR piece also points out, they’re a little put out with El Presidente because he’s not putting more heat on WashingtonÂ to reverse theÂ recent increase in enforcement.
Finally, the report describes Calderon’s view that the economies of “the Americas” should be integrated with a free flow of labor. It’s quite stunning, really. Do give it a listen.