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Congressional Hispanic Caucus Members Denounce Politicization of U.S.-Mexico Relationship and Urge President Trump to Cancel Meeting with Mexican President López Obrador

Jul 1, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Over a dozen members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) led by Chairman Joaquin Castro are calling on President Trump to cancel his meeting with Mexican President López Obrador before the upcoming election, citing Trump’s failures to contain the virus that’s devasting Latino and border communities, and his cruelty with Migrant Protection Protocols.

“Your decision to hold a meeting when the Congress is not in session, when members of Congress will be in our districts addressing the needs of communities across the United States that have been devastated by this pandemic, is a blatant attempt to politicize the important U.S.-Mexico relationship along partisan lines,” the Members wrote. “we strongly urge you to reconsider and cancel this meeting.”

The letter was signed by CHC Chairman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Whip Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Freshman Representative Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Congressman Jesús "Chuy" García (IL-04), Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Congressman Filemon Vela (TX-34), Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51), Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-3), Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Congressman J. Luis Correa (CA-46), Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), and Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29).

Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.

Dear President Trump: 

We write to express our concerns and disapproval with the recent announcement that you have invited Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to a meeting at the White House in early July. While this meeting may appear to be trade related and tied to the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), it is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the coronavirus crisis and your failure to lead an adequate response to the pandemic. In border states such as Texas and Arizona, COVID-19 is out control and your lack of leadership has already resulted in the deaths of more the 120,000 Americans and the gravest economic disaster since the Great Depression, both of which are decimating Latino communities. Furthermore, any meeting with the President of Mexico should include an explanation to why the Pentagon is keeping as many as 4,000 troops at the border despite any sign of an actual crisis and a plan for the United States to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols, which have stranded over 60,000 asylum seekers in Mexico, violated international law, and subjected vulnerable women, men, and children to abuse, sex trafficking, kidnapping, and exploitation. 

This meeting, while ostensibly to discuss the USMCA, is only scheduled to include President López Obrador, it is our understanding that it will not include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose country is a key part of this trade agreement. If you are truly focused on discussing the USMCA, it appears that holding a meeting later would be most appropriate to ensure all involved countries could attend. Your decision to hold a meeting when the Congress is not in session, when members of Congress will be in our districts addressing the needs of communities across the United States that have been devastated by this pandemic, is a blatant attempt to politicize the important U.S.-Mexico relationship along partisan lines. 

For all the reasons listed above, we strongly urge you to reconsider and cancel this meeting.

 Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.