Two recent news reports break stereotypes and shed light on solutions for two problems facing Mexico and the United States- the drug war and immigration.
In an article in the New York Times journalist Damien Cave reports that fewer Mexicans are immigrating to the United States illegally. They are a few key reasons. One is that there are increasing educational opportunities for Mexicans to stay in Mexico. The other is that the United States is issuing more visas to Mexicans wanting to come to the U.S. as temporary workers or as tourists.
These are encouraging developments and reinforce what I know from having lived in Mexico. Most Mexicans would prefer to stay at home if given an opportunity to develop some sort of career.
In Guadalajara, I knew many university students and young professionals who wouldn't dream of migrating to the United States. They prefer to stay at home even if that meant earning less than $500 a month as a graphic designer or a teacher.
The other piece was an essay by Jorge Castañeda, the former Foreign Minister of Mexico, who reflected on the drug war in Time magazine. He made several points, including that U.S. consumption for drugs won't ever decline and there is no way to stop the arms flow into Mexico if there isn't gun control in the United States.
Castañeda offers a few interesting ideas, including the legalization of marijuana, creating a national police force in Mexico and helping our southern neighbor reform its judiciary system.
He also pointed out the hypocrisy of some U.S. states allowing medical marijuana meanwhile we fight a war on drugs.
Both pieces offer interesting perspectives on issues that are too often seen in black and white.