Most Americans View Mexico as a Vital Partner Despite Border Issues, Poll Shows

         

Summary: A recent poll reveals that while Americans have mixed views of Mexico’s government, they see the country as an important ally in addressing drug trafficking and illegal border crossings. The poll highlights the deep diplomatic and cultural ties between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as the shared responsibility both countries have in tackling immigration and drug trafficking issues. While there are calls to use military force against Mexico among some Republican presidential candidates, the majority of Americans emphasize the importance of preventing illegal immigration and supporting legal immigration opportunities.

A new poll conducted by the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that most Americans acknowledge Mexico as a crucial partner in combatting drug trafficking and illegal border crossings, despite having mixed views of Mexico’s government. The poll found that around two-thirds of Americans believe that the U.S. and Mexico have at least a friendly relationship, with only 16% considering Mexico a close ally. However, there is a higher percentage of U.S. adults who hold an unfavorable view (38%) of Mexico’s leadership compared to those who hold a favorable view (12%).

The poll highlights the contrasting perceptions Americans have towards Mexico, its leadership, and the approximately 10 million immigrants living in the U.S. Both countries share significant trade, diplomatic, and cultural ties. However, the pressing issues of unauthorized migration and drug trafficking have put immense pressure on the governments of both Washington and Mexico City. Last year alone, synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, claimed the lives of approximately 75,000 people in the U.S. Thus, there is a recognition of the need for both countries to work together to address these challenges and strengthen their relationship.

The poll reveals that approximately two-thirds of Americans believe that both the U.S. government and the Mexican government should bear the responsibility of preventing illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. through Mexico. Additionally, an even higher percentage (about three-quarters) of Americans think that both governments should actively work towards preventing illegal drug trafficking from Mexico to the U.S. The need for cooperation and coordination is emphasized by respondents, who recognize the need to tackle these shared international problems.

Despite the ongoing political discourse, there is a recognition among Americans of the importance and effort made by both nations to work together. This sentiment is echoed by individuals like Kris Bennefield from San Augustine, Texas, who emphasizes the need for close collaboration with Mexico to combat drug cartels. While some Republican presidential candidates have suggested using military force against Mexico in response to the drug trafficking issue, the majority of Americans place a high value on preventing illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border. This policy goal is considered especially important by Republicans (80%), but is also recognized as significant by Independents (50%) and Democrats (35%).

Furthermore, the importance of creating more opportunities for legal immigration from Mexico to the U.S. garners slightly less attention, with 43% of Americans highlighting it as an important foreign policy goal. However, Democrats (57%) are more likely than Republicans (25%) to prioritize this goal. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor specializing in U.S.-Mexico relations, emphasizes that a large portion of the population acknowledges the significance of the efforts made by both nations to collaborate. Some individuals, like Kris Bennefield, suggest the need to establish a better system for legal immigration to boost the economy, while also preventing illegal immigration.

The poll also reveals that Americans view Mexican immigrants differently based on their legal status. Approximately two-thirds of Americans have a positive view of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. legally, while only 20% have a positive view of those living in the country illegally. This distinction is echoed by individuals such as Dan Allstun from Los Angeles, who expresses concerns about individuals not paying taxes and the difficulty of controlling immigration. However, it should be noted that studies have shown that immigrants who are in the country illegally do contribute through sales taxes and often have federal and state tax withholdings.

Hispanic Americans, in particular, show greater support for creating more opportunities for legal immigration from Mexico to the U.S. and have a more favorable view of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. The poll also indicates that about two-thirds of Americans have a positive view of Mexican culture, with many having personal experiences of engaging with it through festivals or cultural events in the United States.

The findings of the poll shed light on the complex dynamics between the U.S. and Mexico. While there are border problems and mixed views of Mexico’s government, the majority of Americans recognize the importance of Mexico as a partner in addressing drug trafficking and illegal border crossings. The deep-rooted diplomatic and cultural ties between the two countries highlight the need for collaboration and progress in resolving shared challenges.

Tags: US-Mexico relations, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, poll, immigration policy

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