"The United States and Mexico have a close and complex bilateral relationship. As neighbors and partners under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the United States and Mexico have extensive economic linkages." In the past few years, drug trafficking, organized crime, immigration, and border security are the issues that have dominated the relationship between the two countries. The United States has provided over $1.9 billion in training and equipment to President Calderon's government, which has also employed aggressive anticrime efforts. "The Calderon administration has arrested record numbers of drug kingpins, but the brazen violence committed by warring criminal groups […] has led to an increasing criticism of its security strategy. According to Mexican government data, organized crime-related violence claimed more than 47,500 lives in Mexico between December 2006 and September 2011." The issues of security and the economy are likely to be the most important concerns "in the July 1, 2012 presidential, legislative, and state elections." President Calderon's National Action Party (PAN) may lose to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Due to the relationship between the United States and Mexico, "Congress has maintained an active interest in Mexico with counternarcotics, border security, and trade issues dominating the agenda." Congressional funding will most likely continue, and Congress may begin to monitor "how organized crime and government efforts to suppress it are affecting human rights and democracy in Mexico."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32724