Mexican president lays out demands for immigration reform before U.S. visit
MEXICO CITY — President Vicente Fox said Monday that Mexico wanted work visas, legalization and family reunification for undocumented migrants, but stopped short of calling for U.S. citizenship for them.
Speaking to reporters on the eve of his Nov. 4-6 visit to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, Fox said immigration issues will be on the agenda of his visit, but that trade and economic issues will also be discussed.
"The points we want to address are the need for documents for those (migrants) who are already there" in the United States, Fox said.
"We need for the families of those who already are there to be able to get together their relatives … and organize a flow of people who go each year for temporary work, or permanent work, without the need to become U.S. citizens."
"That (citizenship) is not something we are asking for," Fox said.
Asked when he thought immigration reform could be realized, Fox said "I don’t think we should build expectations beyond reality. We’ve just come through months in which there wasn’t any progress at all.
"Fortunately, we are back at the negotiating table with the government of President Bush."
Asked his opinion on recently elected California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fox had trouble pronouncing the name of the Austrian-born actor, but said he hoped they would be able to get along.
"We haven’t taken a position one way or the other," Fox said. "We hope to be able to work on the relationship."
Schwarzenegger has opposed the granting of drivers’ licenses to undocumented migrants, a stance viewed in Mexico as anti-immigrant.
"We’re sure we’ll able to work hand in hand with the new administration (in California), just as we did before with Gov. (Gray) Davis," Fox said. "We are certainly going to watch closely to see that the human rights and labor rights of immigrants are respected in California."
Fox has come under pressure from Mexico’s Congress to use his upcoming trip to publicly denounce perceived abuses of migrants, such as the arrest of dozens of undocumented cleaning workers at Wal-Mart stores in October.
But Fox said he prefers a friendlier approach that strives for "concrete solutions in some specific areas, while we continue to work on the big issues."
"When we have to protest, we protest; when we have to demand, we demand; and when we have to denounce, we denounce," Fox said. "When we seek to work together to build a constructive solution and analysis, that is the most important route."
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