AWCheney’s Forum On Immigration

The Merida Initiative

The Merida Initiative, as is the case with most of the negotiations between Mexico and the United States, is again one of those deals which was struck behind closed doors between President Bush and President Calderon, so it is unlikely that a great many of you are familiar with it, or have even heard of it. Even its first year funding was tacked onto a funding bill for the war in Iraq in order to expedite, and essentially sneak through, its implementation. This lack of transparency has been the case with this Initiative from the beginning:

An excellent source for information on various aspects of the Initiative is to be found at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars website, Merida Initiative Portal:

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=5949&fuseaction=topics.item&news_id=407349

For instance, according to the overview of the Initiative…

“Congress is currently considering a proposal to provide $1.4 billion in equipment, software, and technical assistance to Mexico over three years as well as a smaller but still unspecified amount to Central America over the same period. The first year of the initiative is part of the Iraq Supplemental, while the second and third years will be discussed as part of the regular FY09 and FY10 appropriations process.

The Merida Initiative is actually more than an assistance package—rather it is one element in a broader strategy of growing cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico to address a shared threat presented by organized crime involved in drug trafficking. The U.S. and Mexican governments have increased joint efforts significantly in recent years in order to protect communities on both sides of the border. Moreover, both countries recognize the need to engage Central America in broader regional efforts.”

…which confirms those “rumors” mentioned by Glenn Beck of CNN in the previous video.

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August 18, 2008 6:04 am Posted by | Mexico | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Social Security Totalization Treaty With Mexico

[UPDATE:  This posting has continued to attract attention, with commenters providing some excellent updated information.  For this reason I have decided to move it to the top of the blog, with my thanks to those individuals who have given it continued relevancy.]

Well, better late than never. I got my computer back from the shop a bit later than I anticipated, but I finally have my act together and am ready to get this out, as promised. I’m afraid that there are no videos this time, but there is volumes of research that I had to wade through to put this post together…and I hope you will all find it at least somewhat enlightening.

Most of you have probably not heard much about the Social Security Totalization Treaty with Mexico or, if you have, most likely you are not fully aware of the nature of it…nor its consequences. In fact, Social Security Totalization Treaties have been around since 1977 and have already been signed with 21 other nations:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/international/

The presumption in these bilateral treaties is that they are mutually beneficial to the workers of both nations, however, that particular benefit is rather questionable in the case of Totalization with Mexico:

http://www.solidaritycenter.org/files/WorkingMexicoChapter10.pdf

“The social security problems in Mexico can be listed briefly: limited coverage in terms of the working population and in relation to the total population in spite of the existence of a law and an institution close to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary. The public systems of social security currently include 50% of the total population and 30% of the economically active population. A historic deficit of health care and maternity insurance hovered over the work risk insurance and retirement funds for almost 50 years. It is on this deficit that the government based part of its argument to justify the privatization of the pension scheme.”

In addition, Mexican Visa and Immigration laws are far more strict than they are in this country, making it highly unlikely that a comparable number of American citizens would be participating in the system, and wages are, of course, considerably lower for the average worker. The alleged “savings” for the “American worker and employer” are also unclear, as I was unable to find the actual text of the Agreement. I suspect that it leans a little heavier on the side of the employer.

The Social Security Trust Fund of the United States has also been the subject of debate for many years because of the dwindling funds available, to the point that benefits have, on occasion, been cut rather than increased to address inflationary factors, much less accruing cost of living increases. Many of our retirees in this country are faced with the monthly choice of whether to buy food or their necessary medical prescriptions. As a matter of fact, estimated dates of trust fund exhaustion change often…and seldom for the better. Now we have another “fly in the ointment.”

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July 11, 2008 11:42 pm Posted by | Mexico | , , , , | 31 Comments