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Timeline

U.S.-Mexico Relations

1810 – 2010

After Mexican independence in 1810, Mexico and the United States had numerous territorial disputes. Political upheaval in Mexico and economic opportunity across the border spurred migration to the United States after the Mexican Revolution. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) paved the way for a closer U.S.-Mexico relationship on security, trade, and counternarcotics.

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A map of the United States in 1821, showing the border between Spain and the United States. FCIT/The Private Collection of Roy Winkelman
A map of the United States in 1821, showing the border between Spain and the United States. FCIT/The Private Collection of Roy Winkelman
The Hidalgo Rebellion

In 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla calls for Mexican independence from Spain, spurring a series of revolts across the country that becomes known as the Hidalgo rebellion. The rebellion fails, but fighting continues. Meanwhile, the United States and Spain are locked in debate over the border between their territories. In 1819, the Adams-Onis Treaty, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty, draws a definitive border between Spanish land and the Louisiana Territory. The United States cedes California, New Mexico, Texas, and modern Arizona, Nevada, and Utah to Spain; it also agrees to pay U.S. citizens' land claims against Spain up to $5 million.

Jose Maria Morales. Wikimedia
Jose Maria Morales Wikimedia
Mexican Independence

In 1821, Mexico gains independence under the Treaty of Cordoba. The country is set up as a limited monarchy; the Roman Catholic Church is the official state church and upper-class status is granted to the Spanish and mestizo populations.

The painting 'Surrender of Santa Anna,' by William Huddle, shows Santa Anna surrendering to a wounded Sam Houston. Wikimedia
The painting 'Surrender of Santa Anna,' by William Huddle, shows Santa Anna surrendering to a wounded Sam Houston. Wikimedia
Texas Seeks Independence from Mexico

Migration is the root of the first dispute between the United States and Mexico. In 1830, Mexico prohibits immigration to Texas from the United States in an effort to stem the influx of English-speaking settlers. Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna tries to enforce the law by abolishing slavery and enforcing customs duties. In March 1836, Santa Anna is taken prisoner and signs a treaty recognizing the independence of Texas. In 1845, Texas becomes part of the United States as a slave state. Mexico then breaks diplomatic relations with the United States.

A painting of the siege of Monterey in September 1846. U.S. Army Signal Corps/AP
A painting of the siege of Monterey in September 1846. U.S. Army Signal Corps/AP
Mexican-American War

In 1845, U.S. President James Polk offers to purchase California and New Mexico from the Mexican government and seeks to make the Rio Grande River the border between the two countries, which would make Texas part of the United States. Advocates of "Manifest Destiny," the nineteenth-century concept that the United States had a moral obligation to expand to the Pacific coast, support the plan. Mexico refuses Polk's offer, and Polk sends military forces to the Rio Grande in retaliation. Fighting ensues; a full-scale U.S. invasion follows.

Map of the United States in 1847, just before the end of the Mexican-American War. Wikimedia
Map of the United States in 1847, just before the end of the Mexican-American War. Wikimedia
Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo

In 1848, after the seizure of Mexico City, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the Mexican-American War. The treaty obligates Mexico to cede present-day Arizona, California, and New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Nevada. In return, the United States pays $15 million in compensation for war-related damage to Mexican land. The treaty also provides for the protection of the property and civil rights of the roughly eighty thousand Mexican nationals living in U.S. territory. Many become U.S. citizens, but most lose their land by force or fraud. The California gold rush prompts gold seekers to push out Mexican landowners.

A 1953 stamp commemorating the Gadsden Purchase. The Granger Collection, New York
A 1953 stamp commemorating the Gadsden Purchase. The Granger Collection, New York
The Gadsden Purchase

In 1853, U.S. President Franklin Pierce purchases thirty thousand square miles of land along the Mesilla Valley, which runs from California to El Paso, for $10 million. He plans to use the land for a railroad to the Pacific Ocean. The Gadsden Purchase, as it becomes known, also resolves an outstanding border dispute between Mexico and the United States, and marks the last adjustment to the border between the two countries.

Charge of the Mexican cavalry at the Battle of Puebla with the French. Wikimedia
Charge of the Mexican cavalry at the Battle of Puebla with the French. Wikimedia
Europeans Invade Mexico

A joint British-French-Spanish force invades Mexico in 1862 in an attempt to collect on debts the Mexican government owes them. The British and Spanish armies vacate after reaching agreements with the government, but Napoleon III of France sends troops to Mexico City, where they force the president to flee. Meanwhile, a civil war rages on in the United States. France has significant interest in halting U.S. growth, and believes if it conquers Mexico, it may be able to aid the Confederates in dividing the United States into two countries. After sustained pressure from Washington, France pulls out its troops in 1867.

Mexican refugees on a railroad track in El Paso. El Paso Public Library/AP
Mexican refugees on a railroad track in El Paso. El Paso Public Library/AP
U.S. Railroads Recruit Mexicans

Labor shortages in the United States lead railway companies to recruit Mexicans after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 halts immigration from China. Meanwhile, inspection stations are set up at ports of entry along the southern border. In 1904, the first U.S. border patrol is established to stop Asian workers from circumventing border controls and entering through Mexico. Historians estimate that over sixteen thousand Mexicans were working on the railroads by the early 1900s, representing as much as 60 percent of America's railway labor force at the time.

Emiliano Zapata and his followers. Wikimedia
Emiliano Zapata and his followers. Wikimedia
Mexican Revolution

Unrest among peasants and urban workers triggers the Mexican Revolution. Political turmoil grows, with Emiliano Zapata leading in the south and Francisco "Pancho" Villa in the north. In 1911, dictator Porfirio Diaz, who famously said, "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States," is overthrown. Mexican President Francisco Madero assumes power. The continued upheaval sends a flood of Mexican immigrants who are seeking refuge to the United States. More than 890,000 Mexicans migrate to the United States between 1910 and 1920, although some of them ultimately return.

U.S. forces at the Mexican port of Veracruz. Wikimedia
U.S. forces at the Mexican port of Veracruz. Wikimedia
The Tampico Affair

In 1913, Mexican President Madero is killed in a coup led by General Victoriano Huerta. In April 1914, nine U.S. soldiers are arrested and detained by Heurta's army for allegedly entering a prohibited zone in Tampico. Mexico apologizes, but U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sends Marines to the port of Veracruz to "obtain from General Huerta and his adherents the fullest recognition of the rights and dignity of the United States." The invasion inflames anti-American sentiment in Mexico, and Huerta flees the capital soon afterward due to ongoing political upheaval.

Pancho Villa at the head of his rebel army. AP
Pancho Villa at the head of his rebel army. AP
Chasing Pancho Villa

In May 1916, Francisco "Pancho" Villa, who attained notoriety as a general during the Mexican Revolution, leads hundreds of Mexicans in an attack on the U.S. town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing seventeen Americans and burning the town center. The incursion marks the first attack on U.S. territory since 1812. The American public is outraged, and U.S. President Wilson sends ten thousand troops into Mexico in pursuit of Villa. One year later, they withdraw, having failed to apprehend the guerilla leader. The prolonged U.S. military presence further damages U.S.-Mexico relations.

A 1996 party congress for the PRI. Miguel Juarez/AP
A 1996 party congress for the PRI. Miguel Juarez/AP
Constitution and the PRI

In 1917, Mexico adopts a new constitution to ensure permanent democracy. In 1929, the National Revolutionary Party is formed; it is later renamed the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional), or PRI. The party leads Mexico for the next seventy-one years.

  National Archives/AP
National Archives/AP
The Zimmermann Telegram

With World War I raging in Europe and the United States remaining neutral, a secret telegram from German’s foreign minister to his Mexican counterpart offers to restore territories lost by Mexico in the 1846 war if Mexico attacks the United States. Germany hopes such a war will distract the U.S. military, which it fears will soon enter into the European conflict. The telegram is intercepted and published in the United States, leading to an outcry and a declaration of war against Germany.

U.S. Border Patrol inspectors search two Mexican nationals in California. AP
U.S. Border Patrol inspectors search two Mexican nationals in California. AP
Immigration and Smuggling

The U.S. Congress passes the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, restricting the flow of Southern and Eastern Europeans into the country. Mexicans are excluded from quota requirements. The subsequent Immigration Act of 1924 extends the restrictions to East Asians and South Asians. Though Mexican immigration remains unrestricted, the act establishes border stations to formally admit Mexican workers and to collect visa fees and taxes from those entering. That same year, the U.S. Border Patrol is created, though in its early years, the patrol is primarily focused on the Canadian border. By 1930, the U.S. census counts six hundred thousand Mexican immigrants residing in the United States, up from two hundred thousand in 1910. Mexicans still comprise less than 5 percent of the immigrant workforce, not including undocumented immigrants who slip across the porous border.

U.S. migrant workers in central California, 1939 Dorothea Lange/AP
U.S. migrant workers in central California, 1939 Dorothea Lange/AP
The Great Depression

During the Great Depression, tens of thousands of Midwestern farmers in the United States migrate to California in search of work. Americans begin to view Mexicans as competitors for jobs as well as a drain on social services. This prompts a forced repatriation program of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, while hundreds of thousands more, wary of the changed climate, return to Mexico voluntarily.

President Roosevelt and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt greet Alberto J. Pani, Mexico's minister of finance as he begins trade conferences between the two nations, May 1933. AP
President Roosevelt and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt greet Alberto J. Pani, Mexico's minister of finance as he begins trade conferences between the two nations, May 1933. AP
Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy

In 1933, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt takes office and sets out to improve relations with Latin America. In his inaugural speech, he says "I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor—the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others.” The policy opposes any armed intervention in Latin America and aims to reassure the region that the United States will not pursue interventionist policies.

Residents of Mexico City celebrating the appropriation of foreign oil companies, 1938. Getty
Residents of Mexico City celebrating the appropriation of foreign oil companies, 1938. Getty
Oil and Politics

The United States and Mexico face raised tensions in the 1920s as oil companies fear their investments may be expropriated based on language in the Mexican constitution. In August 1923, Mexico and the United States seem to settle the issue by signing the Bucareli Treaty, in which Mexico agrees to respect the rights of U.S. oil companies in exchange for U.S. recognition of the sitting Mexican government. The issue remains a controversial one in Mexico, however, and in 1938, Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas nationalizes the oil industry. The United States does not retaliate out of fear that Mexico will align itself with Germany during World War II, which begins in 1939. Mexico declares war on the Axis powers following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and Mexican pilots fight alongside the U.S. Air Force. In 1944, Mexico agrees to pay U.S. oil companies $24 million plus interest for properties expropriated in 1938. Meanwhile, the Mexican government adopts an import-substitution economic strategy, essentially operating as a closed economy.

Mexican workers await legal employment in the United States. Wikimedia/UCLA Library
Mexican workers await legal employment in the United States. Wikimedia/UCLA Library
The Bracero Program

In August 1942, the United States and Mexico begin their first official labor program for temporary workers. Like the influx of Mexican migrants during World War I, the so-called Bracero Program is a response to a severe wartime labor shortage in the United States. The program, which focuses on the agricultural and railroad industries, mandates a base wage level, housing, medical care, and food, but critics of the program charge that Mexican migrants are exploited by their U.S. employers. Between 1942 and 1964, when the program ends, more than 4.5 million Mexican laborers are sponsored. The program establishes a circular migration pattern for Mexican workers and results in an increase of unauthorized immigration to the United States.

President Truman and Mexican President Miguel Aleman in Mexico City, 1947. Harry S. Truman Library
President Truman and Mexican President Miguel Aleman in Mexico City, 1947. Harry S. Truman Library
Truman Visits Mexico City

President Harry S. Truman becomes the first U.S. president to visit Mexico City. Later that year, the United States and twenty-one other countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico, sign the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, or the Rio Treaty. It codifies the "hemispheric defense doctrine," the principle that an attack against one country will be considered an attack against all countries. The Rio Treaty is invoked numerous times during the Cold War, and the United States cites it following attacks on September 11, 2001. In 2002, Mexico becomes the first country to formally withdraw from the treaty in protest over the U.S. intention to invade Iraq.

A group of illegal Mexican workers board a plane in California to be deported back to Mexico, 1951. AP
A group of illegal Mexican workers board a plane in California to be deported back to Mexico, 1951. AP
Operation Wetback

Concerned about the growing number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower begins Operation Wetback, a forced repatriation program supervised by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Roughly 750 U.S. Border Patrol agents sweep Arizona and California in June and return them to Mexico by bus and train; one month later, it is estimated that fifty thousand people have been apprehended. The INS claims as many as 1.3 million were repatriated during the operation, but this figure includes those who voluntarily returned to Mexico under duress.

A maquiladora in Mexico, 2007. Wikimedia
A maquiladora in Mexico, 2007. Wikimedia
Rise of the Maquiladoras

The end of the Bracero program—the official temporary worker arrangement started in 1942—in 1964 prompts a flow of migrant workers back to Mexico. In 1965, the Mexican government establishes an industrialization program to create job opportunities for those workers. So-called maquiladoras, or “assembly plants,” are built in border towns to employ low-cost Mexican labor who will assemble goods for the U.S. market. Duty-free raw materials are imported from the United States, and when the finished goods are exported, duty is paid only on the value added. Maquiladoras quickly become labor magnets for Mexicans living further south; by 1992, plants employ roughly half a million Mexicans and export $19 billion, about 40 percent of Mexico's global exports. The maquiladora industry strengthens economic and cultural ties between the countries.

Mexican army troops guard young men rounded up after rioting in Tlatelolco Square. AP
Mexican army troops guard young men rounded up after rioting in Tlatelolco Square. AP
The Tlatelolco Massacre

After World War II, the Mexican government pushes economic growth through strong public investment in agriculture, transportation, and energy infrastructure, as well as the introduction of high protective tariffs to shield domestic consumer industries. The so-called Mexican Miracle produces 3–4 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth that lasts for nearly three decades. However, anger at unequal distribution of wealth leads to burgeoning left-wing political forces and spurs social unrest. In 1968, ahead of the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, university students rock the capital with protests and rioting. Ten days before the start of the games, Mexican security forces fire into the crowd at a student demonstration in the capital's Tlatelolco Square. The government estimates the death toll is thirty; other sources claim it is closer to two or three hundred.

U.S. President Nixon's 'Operation Intercept' led to gigantic traffic jams at the U.S.-Mexico border. AP
U.S. President Nixon's 'Operation Intercept' led to gigantic traffic jams at the U.S.-Mexico border. AP
The War on Drugs Begins

In September 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon declares a “war on drugs” and the United States launches an aggressive search-and-seizure counternarcotics operation on the U.S.-Mexico border. Thousands of agents are deployed along the border to inspect “all persons and vehicles crossing into the United States.” As lines at the border grow, Mexico reacts with anger at not being consulted on the operation. In mid-October, the operation is terminated and replaced with a bilateral cooperation agreement between the two countries. In 1973, the United States creates the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). There is some counternarcotics cooperation between the two countries in the 1970s and 1980s, but the assassination of a DEA agent in Mexico in 1985 sparks outrage in the United States and leads Washington to pursue a unilateral strategy to fight the war on drugs.

A blown-out oil well in Del Carmen, Mexico, 1980. AP
A blown-out oil well in Del Carmen, Mexico, 1980. AP
Oil Reserves Discovered

In 1976, massive oil reserves are discovered in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. The Cantarell Field becomes one of the largest in the world, producing more than one million barrels per day by 1981. Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo pledges to use the nationalized oil industry’s profits to fund economic expansion and social welfare. He borrows huge sums of foreign money and leaves Mexico with the world's largest foreign debt. Meanwhile, U.S. concern over unauthorized immigrants grows. U.S. President Jimmy Carter explores options to overhaul U.S. immigration policy, including improving border security and offering amnesty to undocumented immigrants, but no action is taken.

Two U.S. Border Patrol agents march five illegal Mexican aliens to a holding center, 1981. Lennox McLendon/AP
Two U.S. Border Patrol agents march five illegal Mexican aliens to a holding center, 1981. Lennox McLendon/AP
Mexican Economic Crisis

By 1981, oil prices have fallen, inflation has risen, and Mexico is deeply indebted. The government devalues the peso three times in 1982, resulting in higher inflation and lower real wages. Economic stagnation and widespread unemployment follow, pushing Mexican migrants to cross the border in search of work. In 1986, the United States passes the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which seeks to crack down on undocumented immigration by sanctioning employers who hire unauthorized immigrants. The law also grants amnesty to 2.7 million undocumented workers already in the United States. Unauthorized immigration decreases drastically over the next several years, but picks up again at the start of the 1990s.

Stalls in Liberty Market, Guadalajara, Mexico Getty
Stalls in Liberty Market, Guadalajara, Mexico Getty
Economic Opening and Privatization

Mexico reduces its trade barriers and announces its entrance into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the precursor to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Two years later, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the PRI candidate, is elected president on a reform platform. Salinas pushes to deregulate the economy, paving the way for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In his final year in office, Salinas’s administration is dogged by corruption charges related to drug trafficking.

U.S. President Bill Clinton signs a side deal of NAFTA. Ron Edmond/AP
U.S. President Bill Clinton signs a side deal of NAFTA. Ron Edmond/AP
North American Free Trade Agreement

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trilateral agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, goes into effect. NAFTA pledges to eliminate tariffs over fifteen years and makes its signatories the second-largest trading bloc after the European Union. NAFTA opens the door to new institutional relationships between the United States and Mexico on issues including military training, environmental degradation at the border, central bank cooperation, and rule of law. Economists widely concur that the agreement has measurable positive effect on both the U.S. and Mexican economies. Some analysts express surprise that the deal doesn’t boost Mexico's economy more, though the rapid rise of low-cost Asian competitors may dull NAFTA’s benefits.

Subcomandante Marcos, head of the Zapatista rebel group, during a rally in 1994. Marco Ugarte/AP Images
Subcomandante Marcos, head of the Zapatista rebel group, during a rally in 1994. Marco Ugarte/AP
U.S. Rescue Package

The PRI’s Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon is elected president and immediately faces a banking crisis when the value of the Mexican peso plunges in international markets. After U.S. President Clinton fails to get congressional approval of the Mexican Stabilization Act, he obtains a $20 billion loan from the Treasury Department to help Mexico stabilize its currency. Meanwhile, an armed revolutionary group called the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, or EZLN, declares war on the government. Led by Subcomandante Marcos, the rebels say they are anti-globalization and strongly oppose NAFTA; the group uses international media to draw attention to its cause.

Men wait on the Mexican side of the border to attempt an illegal crossing. Susan Sterner/AP
Men wait on the Mexican side of the border to attempt an illegal crossing. Susan Sterner/AP
Criminalization of the Border

With U.S. concern over unauthorized immigration on the rise, and the Mexican government exhibiting a new willingness to engage on immigration issues, the Clinton administration turns its focus to the border. By 1993, the INS budget reaches $1.5 billion, but its strategy for tracking down undocumented immigrants is widely viewed as ineffective. In February 1994, the United States begins a new law enforcement plan that increases border security and pushes for deportation of criminal aliens. In 1996, Congress passes legislation that mandates jail time for some criminal aliens and grants power to local law enforcement in border states to uphold immigration laws.

A Mexican army soldier with bundles of cocaine seized in drug raids. Anthony Padilla/AP
A Mexican army soldier with bundles of cocaine seized in drug raids. Anthony Padilla/AP
Collaboration on Counternarcotics

President Clinton becomes the first U.S. leader to visit Mexico since 1979. He promises Mexican President Zedillo that he will avoid "mass deportations" of undocumented immigrants. Clinton signs a declaration with Zedillo committing for the first time to devise a joint strategy for combating drug trafficking. Though Mexico's economy largely recovers following the 1994 devaluation of the peso, low oil prices and the 1997 Asian financial crisis produce a lower-than-expected GDP growth rate of roughly 4.8 percent in 1998.

Vicente Fox with his supporters in Mexico City, 1999. David de la Paz/AP
Vicente Fox with his supporters in Mexico City, 1999. David de la Paz/AP
PRI's Presidential Monopoly Ends

In 2000, the long reign of Mexico's PRI party ends with the election of Vicente Fox, a member of the opposition Partido de Accion Nacional (PAN). Fox takes office vowing to improve trade relations with the United States, reduce corruption and drug trafficking, and improve the status of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. By 2000, an estimated seven million undocumented immigrants, more than half of whom are Mexican, live there. President George W. Bush takes office in the United States and says that Mexico is the country’s most important foreign policy priority. U.S. attention toward Mexico wanes after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehend a suspected illegal border crosser. Alfred J. Hernandez/AP
U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehend a suspected illegal border crosser. Alfred J. Hernandez/AP
Expansion of U.S. Border Patrol

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. border security intensifies. In 2003, the Department of Homeland Security is created, reorganizing the INS as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). U.S. President Bush proposes a guest worker program but meets strong opposition in Congress. In 2004, Congress authorizes hiring an additional ten thousand Border Patrol agents, doubling the force to twenty-one thousand agents by 2010. Mexican migrants who used to return home seasonally now stay in the United States for fear of being apprehended by the Border Patrol.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon celebrates his narrow victory. Gregory Bull/AP
Mexican President Felipe Calderon celebrates his narrow victory. Gregory Bull/AP
Felipe Calderon Wins Election

In a hotly contested election, Mexican presidential candidate Felipe Calderon, a technocrat and member of the PAN party, wins by less than one percentage point over populist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Lopez Obrador and his supporters reject the results as fraudulent and stage mass protests. In October, U.S. President Bush signs legislation to build seven hundred miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. In December 2006, Calderon is inaugurated, though Lopez Obrador refuses to admit defeat.

A Santa Muerte, or Grim Reaper, pendant next to guns seized by the Mexican army, 2008 Guillermo Arias/AP
A Santa Muerte, or Grim Reaper, pendant next to guns seized by the Mexican army, 2008 Guillermo Arias/AP
Fighting the Drug Gangs

Mexican President Calderon deploys thousands of federal troops throughout Mexico to fight drug cartels and organized crime groups; he also establishes a new federal police force. The United States passes the Merida Initiative, a three-year counternarcotics cooperation plan—first proposed by Calderon—that provides Mexico roughly $400 million a year in assistance. The U.S. Congress fails to pass comprehensive immigration reform despite wide consensus that such reform is needed. Meanwhile, drug-related killings soar. In December 2008, a U.S. Justice Department report says Mexican drug traffickers pose the biggest organized crime threat to the United States.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) greets Mexico's Foreign Minister Patricia Espinoza upon Clinton's arrival in Mexico City on March 23, 2010. Mexico Foreign Ministry/Reuters
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) greets Mexico's Foreign Minister Patricia Espinoza upon Clinton's arrival in Mexico City on March 23, 2010. Mexico Foreign Ministry/Reuters
Bilateral Border Cooperation

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Mexico City to discuss border security and counternarcotics efforts after the March 13 killings of three people connected to the U.S. consulate in the city of Ciudad Juarez. The first three months of 2010 see a dramatic increase in drug trafficking-related deaths, totaling more than two thousand. U.S. and Mexican authorities introduce a “new stage” in bilateral border cooperation, named "Merida 2.0" after the 2008 Merida initiative. The new plan expands aid to Mexico to fight drug trafficking and reorients focus toward improving social and economic conditions.

Demonstrators protest against Arizona's controversial immigration law before marching to the State Capitol in Phoenix. Joshua Lott/Reuters
Demonstrators protest against Arizona's controversial immigration law before marching to the State Capitol in Phoenix. Joshua Lott/Reuters
Arizona Immigration Law Controversy

A U.S. district judge blocks the most controversial elements of Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070, set to take effect July 29. The law includes sections that demand police officers check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws and requires immigrants to prove they are legally in the country. The judge rules that the law would impose an "extraordinary burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose." At the time, roughly half of all people stopped for entering the country without authorization come through Arizona. Mexican officials welcome the decision and say the countries' border can best be secured through comprehensive immigration reform. Arizona’s governor files an appeal against the injunction. U.S. President Barack Obama, whose administration filed the lawsuit challenging the Arizona law, says more immigration control is necessary but that he refuses to accept a "patchwork" solution.

Timeline
U.S.-Mexico Relations