George W Bush has taken his tough talk on illegal immigration to the Mexican border. The US President wants a more rigorous security system along with the sending of armed National Guard troops to the area.
Currently struggling with a low approval rating, Bush has tapped into Republican immigration fears: “We want the border to be open to trade and lawful immigration and we want our border shut to illegal immigrants, criminals and drug dealers and terrorists. That’s our objective.” But not all in his party share his views. US employers recognise the need for Mexican workers who often take on jobs that American citizens do not want and for a lower rate of pay. Bush has also proposed a temporary guest-worker programme and a “path to citizenship” for some long term immigrants but Mexico’s Foreign Minister, Luis Ernesto Derbez, says that is not enough: “There are 12 million Mexicans on the other side of the frontier, 12 million people who live everyday in anguish about the need for reforms which will allow them to live peaceful lives without fear.” The US Senate is currently debating a sweeping overhaul of immigration legislation.