The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an organization that works toward the promotion and demonstration of a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. In its collaboration with international partners, the organization seeks to support rule of law, human rights, drug crime prevention, environmental sustainability, increased transparency in immigration processes, agricultural success, and international crime prevention, among many other objectives.
The organization, and by extension, the U.S. government, have historically maintained an alliance with Mexico. This privileged bilateral relationship is demonstrated by the existence of the USAID Mexico Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), supporting (in addition to the overall objectives of the agency) three specific development goals: strengthening the rule of law & human rights, reducing drug-related crimes & violence, and promoting transparency & integrity under the Merida Initiative (an initiative that combats drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and money laundering).
Mexico’s internal domestic issues have always factored into executive and legislative consideration, and given its shared border, these issues have often directly impacted U.S. affairs (primary issues include narco-trafficking, transnational crime, trade, and immigration processes). In the context of the current U.S. political climate, the relationship between Mexico and America has been relatively strained as of late given the current administration’s vocalization if its concerns in regard to a number of transnational issues, immigration processes chief among them.
Simultaneous to Congress’ mid-term elections, USAID’s Mexico CDCS is up for review in November 2018, offering the opportunity to reassess the collaborative efforts between the U.S. and Mexico at a pivotal moment in the legislative cycle. Congress is currently controlled by the Republican party, but pending the events of November 6, this could change. However, whatever the outcome of this election cycle, the result will most likely spell success for the renewal and revision of USAID’s Mexico CDCS.
Historically speaking, the Republican Party has tended to take a harder diplomatic line in terms of America’s relationship with Mexico, and the Democratic Party has tended to portray a somewhat more lenient attitude. Because of these ingrained stereotypes perceived by many members of the public, some might think that the election of a majority Republican Congress might pose a threat to the survival of the USAID Mexico CDCS, and an election of a majority Democrat Congress might bolster the program. However, these assumptions are premature and quite inaccurate: USAID’s Mexico CDCS provides an agenda that appeals to the political leanings of both parties, indicating its continued success and funding in the future, no matter the outcome of the mid-term elections.
As previously stated, Mexico’s CDCS focuses primarily on supporting rule of law & human rights, reducing drug-related crimes & violence, and promoting the Merida Initiative. While the issue of immigration has typically created a partisan debate, Mexico’s CDCS presents an almost uniquely bipartisan list of objectives.
The prevention of drug trafficking, human rights abuses, and transnational crime are all goals that reach across the aisle, so to speak. The accomplishment of these objectives is imperative, not just in the context of maintaining a healthy relationship with Mexico, but also to U.S. national security, the well-being of the American population, and the health of the public.
USAID’s Mexico CDCS poses an agenda that members from both parties can get behind, and therefore will most likely weather whichever party gains control of Congress. While each party or individual politician elected might place emphasis on different aspects of the CDCS, the overall agenda will most likely remain largely unaffected. That being said, given its expiration in November, and the need for revisiting the terms of the CDCS, the majority party could possibly decide to use this as an opportunity to add other objectives to the agreement which might address issues that are more divisive than the current objectives. If this occurs, the status quo of the USAID Mexico CDCS and its current overall appeal to both parties could be complicated.