President Obama has made a foray into Latin America with stops in Mexico and Costa Rica. There is no shortage of topics that could have been, and most probably were, discussed as a visit to the region by a US president, long overdue, is of huge importance.
But perhaps, as Andres Oppenheimer points out in his Miami Herald column today, the most important issue was the least reported. Namely the suggestion that increased student exchanges between the US and Mexico would benefit both countries.
Only 13,700 Mexican students are enrolled in U.S. colleges, compared with 194,000 from China, 100,000 from India and 72,000 from South Korea, according to the “Open Doors’’ study of the Institute of International Education.
“We want more Mexicans studying in the United States, and more American students studying in Mexico,” Obama said. “And we’re going to focus on science, technology, engineering and math.”
I suspect it’s only a matter of time until some see this as a way for more Mexicans to gain access to the US
So how did this get lost in all the economic, drug and immigration news reports on Obama’s trip? I’m not sure, but it may be for the better as this goal of increased Mexican students in the US will surely lead to anti-immigration criticism even if one assumes the students will be on temporary visas. I suspect it’s only a matter of time until some see this as a way for more Mexicans to gain access to the US, fearing the students will disappear into the bigger society. An increase in the number of immigrants veiled in an educational exchange program. Let’s hope the program goes ahead regardless.