President Obama will visit Mexico and Costa Rica in early May amid a major push to overhaul immigration laws at home and a continued focus on the role of trade in the economy.
Obama will meet with newly elected Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on the trip, from May 2 through May 4. In Costa Rica, he will meet with President Laura Chinchilla and leaders from other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic.
“We’ve done a lot of work with the previous Mexican administration on security issues and on economic issues. But sometimes the relationship gets characterized just as being about borders or just as being about drug cartels,” Obama said Wednesday in an interview with the Telemundo Spanish-language network. “There’s so much more to the relationship — in terms of commerce, in terms of trade, in terms of energy. And so we want to highlight some of the close cooperation that’s already been taking place and to continue to build on that, so that we’re creating more jobs and more opportunity on both sides of the borders.”
In his meetings in Costa Rica, Obama said, he hoped to strengthen cooperation between Central American and Caribbean nations and the United States.
“I’m looking forward to having a couple of days of important consultations and emphasizing, underscoring how important it is for us within this Western Hemisphere to be able to strengthen our economic ties,” he said.
In the Telemundo interview — he also sat for an interview with Univision — Obama said he expects there will be an immigration reform bill ready in early April when Congress returns from recess. He predicted a bill could be passed by the end of the summer.