Good evening ladies and gentlemen, friends of the Mexico Institute. It is wonderful to see so many of you here tonight for our annual Washington, DC celebration of the work of our Institute and the bilateral relationship. We are particularly honored that acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan has been able to join us tonight and we look forward to his words.
Let me just make a few brief comments about bilateral affairs before I introduce acting Commissioner McAleenan. The first five months of this year, have been tough for those of us who care deeply about the United States' friendship with Mexico. Challenges to that relationship, through disparaging comments about Mexicans; to the insistence on building a wall between friendly nations, that would divide and damage border communities and even including the environment; and, the looming threat of U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA, have repeatedly shocked and caused some to question the basis of our longstanding alliance and friendship.
However, what has become clear is that, regardless of the message coming out of certain parts of the U.S. administration, there remains a deep understanding and inter-connectedness between our governments, economies and more importantly, our societies. The institutional mechanisms of cooperation, that have been carefully constructed over the past two and half decades, have served our countries well. Intensive and often intense communication between the two governments during this trying period, has helped to keep our relationship moving forward, at the same time as it has helped to reduce the frictions caused by tweets and public statements.
Nevertheless, the ongoing business relations between companies here and in Mexico, both in terms of trade and investment, and in the integrated production platform of North America, have emphasized once again, how vital these relations are to national and regional competitiveness and to the prosperity of our citizens. As the Mexico Institute's "Growing Together" study highlights, we must keep in mind that almost five million jobs here in the United States depend on the economic relationship with Mexico. Just as importantly, security cooperation between the two governments, remains fundamental to the fight against organized crime, and to protect our two countries from terrorist threats.
These recent months have not been easy, we are all clear on that; but they have served a purpose: More than ever, we have seen an outpouring of support for the bilateral relationship and an increased public understanding of how vital Mexico is to the prosperity and security of the United States. And once again, we have been reminded of how vital the work of the Mexico Institute is to promote mutual understanding.
Roger and I, are extremely proud of the achievements of the Institute over the past 14 years, and we are very grateful to the board for its ongoing support. We are a small team, a family of friends that has come together in common cause to fight for something that we believe to be critically important. This small team, led by Duncan and Chris; the growing network of scholars; the vibrant board; and, our dear allies and sponsors, are all essential elements in our work.
We are also deeply indebted to the Wilson Center, a national treasure that must be maintained for its role in promoting non-partisan dialogue on international affairs.
Although Jane Harman is not here with us tonight, I want to recognize the vital role she has played in increasing the impact of the Wilson Center and we offer her our full support as she works to maintain Congressional funding for the Center.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are very grateful for your presence here tonight. I believe more firmly than ever, that we need to show our support for the bilateral relationship, and for that reason, I am especially pleased that acting Commissioner McAleenan kindly agreed to be with us at this dinner. He is a man who has worked diligently and with passion to improve the relationship with Mexico, while he remains committed to protecting the nation's border. He is someone who understands how our two countries are stronger when we work together, when we share information and resources, and when we talk through our issues. I am greatly encouraged that the President has named acting Commissioner McAleenan as his choice for CBP Commissioner, and we hope that his nomination is ratified as soon as possible. Commissioner, we want you to know that the Mexico Institute is here to support your work, and please never hesitate to call on us.
Liga al prefil del Ing. Fernándes en el Willson Center: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/person/jos%C3%A9-antonio-fern%C3%A1ndez-carbajal