President George W. Bush has tried to repair ties with Mexico, on the last stop of his trip to Latin America. Touring the remains of an ancient Mayan city, he promised he would push Congress to reform tough immigration laws and introduce a guest worker programme.
But President Felipe Calderon criticised US plans to build a border fence to stop people illegally entering the US. “Together, we are working to ensure that we have a secured and modern border that speeds the legitimate flow of people and commerce, and stops those who threaten our common safety and prosperity,” President Bush said.
But the Mexican President was not convinced, saying: “While there are two economies so complementary and unequal, one intensive in capital and the other labour intense, migration cannot be stopped and certainly not by decree.”
But at the end of the day, there were smiles and handshakes, as the two leaders praised each other for their frankness and vowed to work together. Repeating scenes throughout Latin America over the past few days, protesters in Mexico too vented their anger at President Bush’s visit.
The vast majority of people in the country oppose the war in Iraq and many also blame Bush for the tough anti-immigration policies. It is estimated that there are more than six million illegal Mexican immigrants in the US.