Washington Secrets

Latin America urges action on immigration, gun treaty

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Central and South American nations that have been on the short end of the United States' problem with immigration and gun trafficking are taking the unusual step of urging Congress to approve immigration reforms and gun control legislation.

Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States, said that approving the hot-button measures will affect all of the Americas and especially ease immigration problems and gun trafficking to drug cartels in OAS nations.

"They are issues being dealt with today in the United States, but they also form part of our common priorities," Insulza said in a statement provided to Secrets. The OAS is eager to aid lawmakers working on the issues.

Just seeing immigration and gun control emerge as top issues in Congress, he said, "creates a climate of expectation throughout the region, and it shows the existence of a major political sensitivity to the real needs of the most vulnerable sectors of the hemisphere. That leads us to think the solution is close."

What's more, he hopes that the momentum on gun control continues and that the Senate bows to President Obama's wishes and agrees to a pending gun trafficking and manufacturing law ratified by 31 of 35 OAS nations. Conservatives and the NRA have balked at the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials, claiming the treaty mandates a licensing system for gun makers and could end the practice of shooters loading their own ammunition.

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