March 13, 1997
The Administration strongly opposes H.J.Res. 58, as introduced and reported, as
well as the Hastert amendment. These measures would be counterproductive to
U.S. interests and would have negative consequences for U.S. counternarcotics
operations in and with Mexico. The Administration particularly objects to the
egregious language in the Hastert amendment that criticizes the
Administration's drug policy and is counterproductive to our shared objective
of stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.
On February 28, 1997, the President certified that Mexico, among other countries, has cooperated fully with the United States, or has taken adequate steps on its own in the fight against narcotics production, trafficking, and money laundering. The President's decision to certify Mexico's counterdrug efforts was based on an objective review of Mexico's significant accomplishments over the past year. President Zedillo has shown the determination to confront the drug trade head-on and to root out corruption. In 1996, Mexico passed new counternarcotics legislation and enacted regulations to combat organized crime, money laundering, and chemical diversion. The Mexican Government has increased the number of extraditions, improved detection and monitoring of traffickers transiting Mexico, and is improving its police force to make corruption less likely. Drug seizures, arrests, destruction of clandestine labs, and eradication of illegal drug crops increased in 1996 over 1995. The Administration is working closely with Mexico to ensure that this progress continues.
The United States and Mexico have over the past year made progress in developing institutional relationships that will result in further cooperative anti-drug efforts. A decision to reverse the President's certification -- even with a waiver or delay -- would send a strong signal of U.S. loss of confidence in the Mexican Government's efforts to continue its cooperation and could substantially and immediately impair this growing cooperation. As a result, the United States would be less able to counter the influence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Full certification is warranted, given Mexico's well-demonstrated commitment to the fight against drugs, including progress made in cooperation with the United States, and is critical to support continu ed development in the U.S.-Mexico relationship.
In addition, the Administration opposes section 3 of H.J.Res. 58, as reported, which would "deem" the resolution to have been enacted within 30 calendar days after February 28, 1997. This provision destroys the careful Executive-Legislative balance in the narcotics certification statute and, if enacted, would create an indefinite period of uncertainty and confusion.