By Julian Pecquet - 03/27/13 09:31 PM EDT
President Obama will be traveling to Mexico in early May to meet with newly elected President Enrique Peña Nieto, the White House announced Wednesday.
The two leaders, who spoke by phone on Wednesday ahead of the trip, are expected to discuss economic and trade ties, among other issues. Mexico is the United States's third largest trading partner, and is lobbying behind the scenes for immigration reform that could benefit the estimated 7 million Mexicans living illegally in the country.
Obama will also stop in Costa Rica during the May 2-4 trip for meetings with Central American leaders.
“In Costa Rica, the President looks forward to the opportunity to meet with President [Laura] Chinchilla as well as heads of state of the other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, whom President Chinchilla has graciously offered to host,” the White House said. “The trip will be an important chance to discuss our collective efforts to promote economic growth and development in Central America and our ongoing collaboration on citizen security.”
The visit comes as U.S. aid to the Honduran National Police came under withering criticism on Capitol Hill last week after The Associated Press reported that the State Department is funding units under the command of a police chief accused of extrajudicial killings.