Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Grave Error

Defeat called a 'grave error'
Mexican President says American Senate encourages

Illegal Immigration

[It must be realized that America wants to keep the situation with immigrants and drugs illegal. They do not want things to work out, they want to keep things agitated and steadily getting worse. You can't create a war and be able to militarize the border with making peace and good relations. And the American government cannot rally its people to hate and anger and the want of bloodshed by getting along with its neighbor.]

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle Mexico City Bureau

President Felipe Calderon of Mexico blasted the U.S. Senate's rejection of the immigration bill on Thursday, calling the senators' action "a grave error" that avoided a "sensible, rational and legal solution."

"It's a mistake," Calderon said. "First, because it's a problem that's not being confronted. And with this evasive action the U.S. Senate is making it worse.

"Secondly, by closing the door on legal immigration, the only thing the Senate does is open the door to illegal immigration."

Calderon, appearing at a joint news conference with the visiting President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, said he continues to oppose a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that was approved by Congress last year. Some 370 miles of fencing will be constructed by 2008, about 153 miles inside Texas. Another 400 miles would be built later.

Calderon 'more realistic' More than a tenth of Mexico's 110 million people now live in the U.S., many illegally.

As the United States has beefed up border security, people from Mexico and Central America have opted for new — and often perilous — ways of making it across.

On Tuesday, U.S. agents manning a California border checkpoint discovered three Mexican emigrants hiding out inside a truck engine. One of them, a woman, was admitted to a hospital after suffering severe burns from the running motor, according to newspaper reports.

Calderon has placed less emphasis than his predecessor on lobbying for changes in U.S. immigration law, partly, analysts say, out of concern about getting burned.

Former President Vicente Fox's relationship with President Bush soured over Mexico's refusal to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the failure to work out an immigration agreement with Washington.

"Fortunately, Calderon has been more realistic," said Rafael Fernandez de Castro, a Mexico City-based foreign affairs analyst. "He's put fewer eggs in the immigration reform basket and it's not so costly for him and his diplomacy."

Negative impact forecast However, Fernandez said the failure to move ahead with the reform would have a "very negative impact" on U.S.-Mexican relations, calling immigration "a huge stone that's complicating the relationship in other areas."

The topic of immigration was also part of talks between Calderon and Ortega, who agreed to work together to guarantee "the full respect for migrants' human rights," according to a joint statement.

Ortega, a one-time Marxist president of Nicaragua following that country's 1970s leftist revolution against a U.S.-backed dictator, was in Mexico City to strengthen ties with Mexico and to visit the shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The Nicaraguan president had vowed to make the pilgrimage if he won election this year, which he did, returning to power 17 years after being voted out of office.

Nicaraguans account for relatively few of the Central Americans migrating illegally to the United States. Most come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. But hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans have migrated to Costa Rica for work.

Calderon has been working to repair ties with the rest of Latin America that had become frayed under Fox.

Like his predecessor, Calderon is a political and economic conservative.

He argues that the opportunities offered by the 13-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement can only be fully realized with a freer flow of labor between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

"The American economy could not prosper or advance without the labor of both Mexican and Central American migrants," Calderon said.

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