President Obama welcomed Mexico’s president to the White House on Tuesday and pledged to help with the rising violence that has gripped the country in recent months.

Mexico has been hit by mass protests and anger following the abduction by police and local gang of 43 students from a teachers college in September. “Our commitment is to be a friend and supporter of Mexico in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of violence and the drug cartels that are responsible for so much tragedy inside of Mexico,” Obama said.

Obama, though, acknowledged the limits of American influence inside the country, saying it ultimately would be up to Mexico’s law enforcement and military to carry out the necessary reforms to stop the bloodshed.

Obama spoke at a joint appearance with President Enrique Peña Nieto in the White House where they discussed two of the president’s boldest and most controversial executive orders: the normalization of relations with Cuba and his executive order on immigration. Both initiatives drew praise from Peña Nieto, who called the effort to allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States “an act of justice.” He said that Obama’s move to reestablish relations with Cuba was an “audacious decision.”

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