The United States and Mexico share a 2,000-mile border, but our shared connections run much deeper than geographic proximity.
Mexico is our third-largest trading partner, with more than $550 billion in trade each year in goods and services since 2013. U.S. exports to Mexico have grown in recent years from approximately $129 billion in 2009 to $240 billion in 2014 — an increase of more than 86 percent. And of course, the personal bonds between our nations cannot be underestimated. More than one million Americans live in Mexico and an estimated 20 million tourists from the United States visit Mexico each year.
Because of our strong, long-lasting relationships, it is imperative that the United States have a full-time ambassador to Mexico.
Roberta Jacobson, President Barack Obama’s nominee for this post, is an experienced diplomat with the State Department and she has the expertise necessary to serve such an important role. That is why we join together in a bicameral and bipartisan effort to urge her prompt confirmation.
We believe that Ms. Jacobson’s vast experience and service under two Republican and two Democratic administrations proves her competence and effectiveness to steward one of the United States’ most important bilateral relationships.
In 1988, Ms. Jacobson began her service to our country on the staff of the National Security Council during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. Under President Bill Clinton she served as director of the Office of Policy Planning and Coordination in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Under President George W. Bush, she served as the director of the State Department’s Office of Mexican Affairs, and then as the deputy assistant secretary for Canada, Mexico and NAFTA issues. Under President Obama, she has served as principal deputy secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
To put it simply, Ms. Jacobson is well positioned to not only continue, but to deepen our bilateral ties with Mexico at a strategic turning point in our relationship. Already, U.S. aid to Mexico through efforts like the Merida Initiative, combined with increased border security, has helped combat drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, money laundering and human trafficking. Our sharing of resources and intelligence has helped Mexico improve its domestic security and make several high-profile arrests of cartel leaders who have supplied billions of dollars in illegal drugs to communities throughout the United States.
But while tremendous progress has been made, the United States and Mexico have a great opportunity to build an even stronger partnership.
For example, our mutual goal of an economically secure and stable Central America is fundamental to our national security. Having a capable, experienced ambassador in place in Mexico City working on behalf of our national priorities — including our national security — should be a top concern for every member of Congress.
In an era unfortunately characterized by partisanship and endless debates over nominations, confirming Roberta Jacobson represents a grand opportunity to work together across party lines. To further our national interests and strengthen the bilateral relationship between the United States and one of our most indispensable partners, we urge prompt approval of her nomination.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this guest column shows Roberta Jacobson. The above guest column was penned jointly by U.S. Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar. It first appeared in the McAllen Monitor newspaper.