President Vicente Fox of Mexico says that his government will suspend trials against suspected drug traffickers wanted in the U.S. and extradite them for prosecution, the New York Times reports. Such a move would mark a significant shift in the fight against the drug trade in Mexico, where political leaders have rejected extraditions as an infringement of sovereignty. Fox’s comments appeared intended as a goodwill gesture before he meets with President Bush tomorrow.
Fox applauded the vote on Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee to legalize an estimated 11 million undocumented workers and expand guest-worker programs to cover an estimated 400,000 people a year. Fox acknowledged that the U.S. political landscape remained hostile to reforms that appeared to give amnesty to undocumented immigrants. The change he suggested in prosecuting drug traffickers could close off the loopholes in Mexican laws that suspects have used to prolong their trials for years, while continuing to operate their illegal businesses from behind bars. The U.S. has pressed Mexico for decades to tear down the legal barriers that blocked the removal of such suspects from Mexican territory.