- Title: MEXICO: Mexico asks U.S. to reconsider plan for a border fence
- Date: 3rd October 2006
- Summary: (LATIN) ARIZONA, U.S. (FILE) (REUTERS) HELICOPTER FLYING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ON THE RIO GRANDE RIVER BORDER PATROL WATCHING THE BORDER
- Embargoed: 18th October 2006 13:00
- Location: Mexico
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Information
- Reuters ID: LVA99LQFASQTDYCMOK9Y64J27BLO
- Story Text: Mexico has asked U.S. President George W. Bush to veto a Senate plan to build a plan to erect about 700 miles (1,125 km) of fence along the U.S.-Mexican border to keep illegal immigrants out.
The U.S. Senate on Friday overwhelmingly backed a bill to put up the fence.
President-elect Felipe Calderon, who takes office on Dec. 1, has lambasted the fence plan and the issue promises to prickle his relationship with Washington from the outset. Speaking in Mexico on Monday, Calderon said that the fence would cause more deaths of illegal immigrants trying to cross into the U.S.
"We must understand the migration cannot be reduced by decrees or physical obstacles that only make migrants take greater risks and, as a consequence, produce more unjust deaths on the border," Calderon said. Hundreds of Latin Americans, mostly Mexicans, die each year crossing perilous rivers and deserts separating the two countries, and tougher control has increased fatalities.
Asked about the fence at an international media forum in Mexico City, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon said the U.S. is simply managing the border region. "We are building barriers that allow us to manage and control how people move across borders," Shannon said, adding, "We need to know who's coming across our borders and after years of not paying that much attention to the frontier ... we are now attempting to come to terms with it."
Bush had hoped for broad immigration legislation that would create a guest-worker program, which would match workers with jobs Americans are unwilling to do. But House of Representatives Republicans had pushed for greater emphasis on sealing the porous frontier.
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