American President George Bush has come under fire for signing legislation to build a fence on its border with Mexico to fight illegal immigration. The barrier, if built, will be over 11,0000 kilometres long and will cover a third of the entire frontier. In signing the bill, Bush said that he is taking seriously America’s responsibility to secure its borders. But many critics say the fence is just a gimmick to win votes with mid-term elections just ten days away. Illegal immigration is top of the political agenda in the southern states bordering Mexico, and the Republicans face a fight to keep control of congress in the up-coming ballot.
Mexico’s President-elect Felipe Calderon has likened the fence to the Berlin Wall. He was speaking on a tour to Canada. “I’d like to repeat that it seems to us a deplorable decision that the United States Congress and the government has made to go ahead and build a wall along the border. Walls do not resolve anything.”
More than 1.2 million people are arrested each year trying to enter the US illegally. Some 400 lost their lives according to some reports. Amid allegations of hypocrisy for enjoying cheap Mexican labour whilst not allowing legal entry, Bush has said he hopes to eventually create a guest worker program.