Mexico News and Analysis: September 13 - 19

1 - IMMIGRATION HEAD RESIGNS
2 - MEXICO STATE ABOLISHES COMMON CANDIDATES
3 - BORDER GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCE MINUS U.S. GOVERNORS
 
1 - IMMIGRATION HEAD RESIGNS
Cecilia Romero, a member of the PAN, resigned as head of the Institute of Immigration (INM) on Tuesday, following the August 23rd assassination of 72 immigrants by organized crime, apparently with the assistance of INM personnel, in the state of Tamaulipas.  For the past year, Romero refused to appear before the Senate to answer questions about crimes against immigrants, generating criticism from opposition parties.  The Inter-American Human Rights Commission recently published a report estimating that 18,000 immigrants were kidnapped last year in Mexico.  For the past five years Amnesty International and the National Human Rights Commission, a government agency, documented abuse of Central American immigrants passing through Mexico, including dozens of cases of extortion, kidnapping, rape, assassination, and forced recruitment by organized crime.  PAN officials praised Romero for her tenure at the head of the INM.
 
2 - MEXICO STATE ABOLISHES COMMON CANDIDATES
Mexico State, ruled currently by Governor Enrique Pena Nieto, the leading PRI presidential hopeful in 2012, abolished the figure of common candidates for upcoming statewide elections in 2011.  The National Action Party (PAN), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Labor Party (PT) were likely to present common candidates in upcoming elections in order to weaken Pena Nieto's most important power block in Mexico State.  The reform would force parties into formal coalitions-a more difficult enterprise among the three parties in question-if they want to support the same candidates.  Opposition parties condemned the PRI move, in part because the PRI itself used the figure of common candidates to win 97 of 125 municipal elections in 2009.  The Green Party, a close ally of the PRI, introduced the reform, though critics saw the hand of Pena Nieto behind the measure.
 
3 - BORDER GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCE MINUS U.S. GOVERNORS
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson tried to convene a border Governor's summit beginning Sunday night at his hilltop mansion - but hardly anyone showed up.  Republican Governors Jan Brewer of Arizona and Rick Perry of Texas stayed away, perhaps because the loyal Democrat Richardson called the meeting after six Mexican governors, in protest of Arizona's newly approved draconian immigration laws, refused to attend an earlier meeting convened by Brewer.  Even Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger of California backed out at the last minute.  All six governors from the Mexican side attended, perhaps escaping the narco-violence in their states for a couple days of gladhanding, martinis and expensive food.  After Gov. Humberto Moreira of Caohuila took a few stabs at Arizona's immigration laws, Governor Brewer felt the need to do an interview with Televisa, the main Spanish language television network in the US.  Brewer trotted out a well-worn racist defense: "I've got many friends of many cultures and certainly a great deal of them are Hispanics (sic), and I love them from the bottom of my heart."  Sure.