Mexico City, Mexico
9:29 A.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hola! (Applause.) Buenos dias! Please, please, everybody have a seat. It is wonderful to be back in México -- lindo y querido. (Applause.) I bring with me the greetings and friendship of the people of the United States, including tens of millions of proud Mexican Americans. (Applause.) ...
Despite all the bonds and the values that we share, despite all the people who claim heritage on both sides, our attitudes sometimes are trapped in old stereotypes. Some Americans only see the Mexico that is depicted in sensational headlines of violence and border crossings. ...
We're also seeing a Mexico that’s creating new prosperity: Trading with the world. Becoming a manufacturing powerhouse -- from Tijuana to Monterrey to Guadalajara and across the central highlands -- a global leader in automobiles and appliances and electronics, but also a center of high-tech innovation, producing the software and the hardware of our digital age. One man in Querétaro spoke for an increasing number of Mexicans. “There’s no reason to go abroad in search of a better life. There are good opportunities here.” That's what he said, and you are an example of that.
And, in fact, I see a Mexico that’s lifted millions of people from poverty. Because of the sacrifices of generations, a majority of Mexicans now call themselves middle class, with a quality of life that your parents and grandparents could only dream of. This includes, by the way, opportunities for women, who are proving that when you give women a chance, they will shape our destiny just as well as men, if not better. (Applause.)
I also see in Mexico’s youth an empowered generation because of technology. I think I see some of you tweeting right now -- (laughter) -- what’s happening. (Laughter.) And whether it’s harnessing social media to preserve indigenous languages, or speaking up for the future that you want, you’re making it clear that you want your voice heard.
And because of all the dynamic progress that's taking place here in Mexico, Mexico is also taking its rightful place in the world, on the world stage. ... Mexico has joined the ranks of the world’s largest economies. It became the first Latin American nation to host the G20.
Just as Mexico is being transformed, so are the ties between our two countries. As President, I’ve been guided by a basic proposition -- in this relationship there’s no senior partner or junior partner; we are two equal partners, two sovereign nations. ...
And in the United States, we recognize our responsibilities. We understand that much of the root cause of violence that's been happening here in Mexico, for which many so Mexicans have suffered, is the demand for illegal drugs in the United States. And so we’ve got to continue to make progress on that front. (Applause.) ...
And we also recognize that most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States. (Applause.) I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms, and as President I swore an oath to uphold that right and I always will. But at the same time, as I’ve said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States. It’s the right thing to do. (Applause.) So we’ll keep increasing the pressure on gun traffickers who bring illegal guns into Mexico. We’ll keep putting these criminals where they belong -- behind bars.
We recognize we’ve got work to do on security issues, but we also recognize our responsibility -- as a nation that believes that all people are created equal -- we believe it’s our responsibility to make sure that we treat one another with dignity and respect. And this includes recognizing how the United States has been strengthened by the extraordinary contributions of immigrants from Mexico and by Americans of Mexican heritage. (Applause.)
Mexican Americans enrich our communities, including my hometown of Chicago, where you can walk through neighborhoods like Pilsen, Little Village -- La Villita -- dotted with murals of Mexican patriots. You can stop at a fonda, you can hear some mariachis, where we are inspired by the deep faith of our peoples at churches like Our Lady of Guadalupe. We’ve got a Chicagoan in here somewhere. (Applause.)
I reviewed William Julius Wilson's study of Little Village in Chicago for VDARE.
And we’re so grateful to Mexican Americans in every segment of our society -- for teaching our children, and running our companies, and serving with honor in our military, and making breakthroughs in science, standing up for social justice. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told Cesar Chavez once, we are “brothers in the fight for equality.” And, in fact, without the strong support of Latinos, including so many Mexican Americans, I would not be standing today as President of the United States. (Applause.) That's the truth.
And so given that is Americas heritage, given that we share a border with Mexico, given ties that run back generations, it is critical that the United States recognize the need to reform our immigration system -- (applause) -- because we are a nation of laws, but we're also a nation of immigrants. Like every nation we have a responsibility to ensure that our laws are upheld. But we also know that, as a nation of immigrants, the immigration system we have in the United States right now doesn’t reflect our values. It separates families when we should be reuniting them. It’s led to millions of people to live in the shadows. It deprives us of the talents of so many young people -- even though we know that immigrants have always been the engine of our economy, starting some of our greatest companies and pioneering new industries.
Like all those world-conquering companies founded by Mexican-Americans, like ... uh ... like ... Artie Moreno's billboard company!
That’s one of the reasons I acted to lift the shadow of deportation from what we call the DREAMers -- young people brought to the United States as children. (Applause.) And that’s why I’m working with our Congress to pass common-sense immigration reform this year. (Applause.) I'm convinced we can get it done. Reform that continues to strengthen border security and strengthen legal immigration, so citizens don’t have to wait years to bring their families to the United States. Reform that holds everyone accountable -- so immigrants get on the right side of the law and so immigrants are not exploited and abused. And most of all, reform that gives millions of undocumented individuals a pathway to earn their citizenship. And I’m optimistic that -- after years of trying -- we are going to get it done this year. I'm absolutely convinced of it. (Applause.)
... Just imagine how much the students of our two countries could do together, how much we could learn from each other. ...
You are the future. As Nervo wrote in “La Raza de Bronce,” tu eres el sueño -- you are the dream. (Applause.)
Viva México! Viva los Estados Unidos! Que Dios los bendiga! Thank you very much. (Applause.)