Think tank: Trump's 'vilification' of Mexico will harm US

Think tank: Trump's 'vilification' of Mexico will harm US
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A leading progressive think tank is warning that President Trump's "vilification" of Mexicans could scuttle the U.S.-Mexico relationship

The Center for American Progress (CAP) in a report released Monday said the U.S.-Mexico relationship is in "perhaps the best shape it has ever been."

But the CAP predicts that if Trump's "vilification" becomes official policy, "it will harm the United States—at home, throughout the Americas, and around the globe."

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The Hill received an exclusive advance copy of the report, called "Preserving and Strengthening the U.S.-Mexico Relationship." 

The CAP says changes in the relationship over the last 25 year have improved trade, cross-border migration and security cooperation.

"This period of transformation has also witnessed a remarkable evolution in U.S.-Mexico security cooperation—an evolution that has clearly benefited U.S. national interests," reads the report.

To make the most of the bilateral relationship, the CAP suggests the Trump administration should tackle migration jointly with Mexico, focus on "productive border infrastructure" and embrace Mexico's global ambition.

In the first week of Trump's administration, tensions with Mexico have spiked, as debate over payment of a border wall ended in the cancellation of a meeting between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Trump is unlikely to let go of his signature campaign policy — a border wall paid for by Mexico — especially with congressional Republican leaders warming up to the idea after initial opposition.

“I’m not going to get into quibbling about whether they should or should not pay for it,” Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Ryan: Americans want to see Trump talking with Dem leaders Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Wis.) told a Politico event Friday. “We’ve got to get this thing done because we said we would do it, and now we have to deliver.”

The new CAP report says the U.S.-Mexico relationship "touches the daily lives of nearly all Americans in a way that no other bilateral relationship does."  

It suggests Congress should form a "U.S.-Mexico Task Force" to "to better understand the key dynamics shaping the bilateral relationship and to interact with experts from both the United States and Mexico."

While Peña Nieto's canceled trip has raised bilateral tensions to a degree not seen in decades, U.S.-Mexico integration and cooperation are still at an all-time high.

There are nearly 700,000 American citizens living just in Mexico City, putting it in the top-20 list of cities with the most American-citizen residents, according to the report.

"It is essential that policymakers in the Trump administration look beyond harsh rhetoric and instead embrace and build on a U.S.-Mexico relationship that is in perhaps the best shape it has ever been," reads the report.