U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Mexico's President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (Photo : Reuters)
In a big step towards international cooperation regarding immigration, President Barack Obama and Mexico's President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto vowed on Tuesday to cooperate on major U.S.-Mexican issues such as trade and immigration reform.
"We meet early with the president of Mexico because it represents the close relationship between the U.S. and Mexico," Obama said, as reported by ABC News Univision.
Obama, who won re-election three weeks ago, sat down with Peña Nieto, who will be sworn into office on Saturday, in order to begin talking about the issues that have often caused tension between the two neighboring countries.
Peña Nieto offered his support for Obama's plan to fix America's immigration system. The 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border is the most frequented crossing point used by undocumented immigrants to enter the U.S.
"We fully support your proposals," Peña Nieto told reporters as he began an Oval Office meeting with Obama, according to Reuters. "We want to contribute, we really want to participate .... in the betterment and the well-being of so many millions of people who live in your country."
Immigration reform has come to the forefront after Obama won a record-breaking amount of the growing Latino electorate in the election. Only days afterwards, Obama has stated that he planned to move quickly to address immigration reform, a sentiment echoed by Congressional leaders who may be held accountable by Latino voters for failing to do so, as midterm elections approach in 2014.
"In terms of security, that's another major challenge that we all face. My government is set out to reduce the violence situation in our country," Peña Nieto said through a translator. "I will do everything we can for this."
Peña Nieto was referring to his country's war on drug cartels that has plagued Mexico with violence for years.
President Obama said that he is sending Vice President Joe Biden to attend his inauguration in Mexico City (the vice president is the highest officeholder the U.S. typically sends to inaugurations of foreign leaders). Calling Mexico an important "multicultural and multinational partner," Obama was confident that he and Peña Nieto could work together on immigration, deepening trade ties, and other key issues.
"We only send the vice president to inaugurations when the country is really at the top of the list," Obama said. "We look forward to an excellent relationship for years to come."
For video of Obama's meeting with Pena Nieto, click below: