Mexico wants to play tough guy with the United States over the unlawful detaining of former U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi. I’ve been watching Spanish-language news on this matter and it is clear they want to make political points on immigration and other issues. It is going to politically backfire.
Mexico wants a lot from the United States, it always does. Somehow it manages to play victim in Washington, DC and politicos from both political parties fall for it. Now it is abusing the special relationship between our two countries.
It is unlawful to use a prisoner to score domestic political points or exact political or diplomatic concessions from the prisoner’s country of origin. Mexico is acting like Cuba, not a civilized nation that it purports to be.
Mexican officials should to wise up and release Tahmooressi, if not, the Congress has plenty of options at its disposal to make sure that various issue areas of interest to Mexico are negatively impacted in the very near future.
The following is a very small sampling of policy issues of importance to Mexico that the United States can and should consider using until Tahmooressi is released:
- Immediately stop all civilian, military, and intelligence cooperation with the Mexican government on all operations related to combating the drug cartels. This could mean freezing all Merida Initiative funds, and much more.
- Advance bills in Congress involving water sharing with Mexico from the Colorado River and Rio Grande. Not surprisingly, Mexico is running a “water deficit” with the United States.
- Shelve all talks and legislation, for the year or longer, related to a proposed U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement.
- Cease all foreign assistance to Mexico, including U.S. taxpayer monies destined for rule of law programs.
- In immigration reform talks, move Mexico to the back of the line as far as proving policy preferences and, if necessary, impose an “immigration tax” – maybe payable from oil sales in Mexico – that the government of Mexico will pay the U.S. Treasury for any Mexican nationals that receive amnesty. An immigration tax, frankly, should be imposed on every country whose nationals receive amnesty under U.S. immigration laws.
I can keep going. There are many bilateral issues that the United States could use in this case to remind Mexico that reciprocity has its limits.
Congress should not wait for the Obama Administration to act. If they are willing to do so, the Republican-controlled House can easily force its hand. If they fail to do so, Tahmooressi is going to spend a long time in a Mexican jail.