McCain Visits Mexico, Shows Skepticism Toward NAFTA Overhaul

By Jorge Valencia
December 21, 2016
Jorge Valencia
Sen. John McCain speaks with reporters at the Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City

Senator John McCain expressed skepticism about overhauling trade policy with Mexico and called for increased surveillance along the border during a visit to Mexico City on Tuesday.

McCain said the North American Free Trade Agreement should be revised -- in a posture similar to that of President-elect Donald Trump – but was cautious about specific provisions he would update.

“Frankly, I don't know what I would change,” McCain said in remarks to reporters. “I think it needs to be reviewed comprehensively, but I think it's been a resounding success.”

McCain, who met with Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu, aimed to strike a neutral tone in his visit, saying the U.S. and Mexico’s relations are at a high point, and avoiding any contrasts with president-elect Donald Trump.

That’s even though McCain supports a pathway to citizenship for some immigrants living in the country unlawfully and does not support building a wall along the border. Instead, McCain proposed using new technologies for border surveillance.

McCain said his visit was not motivated by Trump’s divisive campaign rhetoric toward Mexico.

“I had intended to come to Mexico if I was elected anyway because of my state’s relationship and frankly because of the people I represent, many of whom are Mexican-Americans,” McCain said. “I view the Arizona-Sonora relationship with the utmost importance.”