It stemmed from conversations that included former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Ambassador to the United Nations and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Mexican Ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhan and about 20 others.
The retreat at Sunnylands took place March 29, 30 and 31. “For those of us who were there, we saw what this place can offer,” former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman said Wednesday during the report's unveiling in Washington.
The binational and bipartisan report, dubbed “A Stronger Future,” says the two nations have a unique opportunity as Mexico's middle class grows to strengthen economic ties, secure the border while allowing for more goods to pass across, and fix immigration through visa reform.
U.S. immigration laws have stayed about the same since the 1960s and visas are granted based on family, with only 14 percent of visas into the country related to work, the Sunnylands report states.
With net illegal immigration into the U.S. at virtually zero, the report suggests there's a chance to create a more “balanced” visa policy that would provide “willing workers to meet labor market needs in the United States.”
The report also calls on the two countries to invest in more energy production to help boost the North American economy — including the renewable wind and solar energy sources that are abundant in the Coachella Valley.
By design, the Annenberg/Wilson Center report comes in a year that both countries will hold their presidential elections — something that occurs every 12 years.