Why does Mexican Interior Secretary Santiago Creel detect “an openness to talking about immigration issues” with the United States? Is it simply because, as the Associated Press reports, Colin Powell and other cabinet members are slated to travel south of the border next week? Is it simply because Vicente Fox and George W. Bush can now afford to tackle difficult political problems, since their elections have passed?
These realities are important, to be sure. But don’t forget that, on Tuesday, Bush also saw a 9% net gain among Latino voters nationwide, including heightened support in such border states as Arizona, California, and New Mexico. This advancement has been in Karl Rove’s and other Republican strategists’ minds for quite some time. They will want to use it as part of their foundation for long-term GOP dominance. You better believe that the Mexicans are fully aware of these developments and interests, and they will want to take advantage of the opportunity to shape immigration policy as the time is ripe.