Los Angeles Times

Though Mexico's subsequent president, Felipe Calderon, also supported immigration reform, observers say he and his team were more subtle, preferring to focus on low-key lobbying in Washington.

It was only after a major immigration reform effort foundered in the U.S. Senate in 2007 — Washington's last serious attempt at reform until this week — that Calderon, apparently figuring he had little to lose, ratcheted up the rhetoric, speaking more forcefully about the need for an immigration reform law, according to Andrew Selee, a Mexico expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

That may have scored Calderon political points at home, but it continued to rankle conservatives in the U.S. When Arizona passed SB 1070, its illegal-immigration crackdown law, in 2010, the Calderon administration filed a brief in federal court in support of a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer accused Mexicans of "meddling" in matters beyond their borders.