Do We Need a Mexico Lobby? Should We Fear One?

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Yesterday, someone asked what I thought of this post at the Latino Politics Blog calling for the creation of a “Mexico lobby” along the lines of the Israel lobby or the Cuba lobby. My first thought, of course, is that the author of the piece is a raging anti-semite as is everyone who thinks that the US-Israeli relationship is the result of domestic ethnic lobbying efforts rather than an exquisitely rational calculus of American national interests.

Joking aside, I think the issue here is that the Mexican-American population is probably too big to support a cohesive “lobby” pushing a very specific agenda. Beyond that, the US-Mexican relationship is already very close. Our countries are adjacent to one another, have very integrated markets in most goods and services, and obviously there’s a lot of flow of people across the boarder. This means that the main issues on the US-Mexico bilateral agenda—NAFTA and immigration—are both big time issues in American politics writ large. They’re not under-the-radar things that are amenable to narrow lobbying. The result is that Mexican-American participation in these issues, though both quite influential and quite real, has a totally different flavor from efforts to court Cuban or Jewish voters or donors through appeals related to Cuba policy or Israel policy.