Friday, June 18, 2004 > News > Mexico -- Mexico's Fox calls for immigration changes > News > Mexico -- Mexico's Fox calls for immigration changes

By Michael Conlon
2:09 p.m. June 17, 2004

CHICAGO – Mexican President Vicente Fox called Thursday for a new framework covering migration between his country and the United States, saying an aging U.S. population could benefit from youthful Mexican energy.

But Fox also said his top priority is to provide education and jobs at home so Mexico's citizens will not have to seek their futures elsewhere.

"Between Mexico and the United States we need to establish legal mechanisms to permit safe, orderly flows of people that also respect the dignity and human rights of all migrants," he said in a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.

"Social symmetries between our nations along with complementary population dynamics (and) labor market structures constitute a powerful incentive for migration," he added.

The United States has an "aging population," he said, compared to the younger face of Mexico.

"This young energy ... is one of the key strategic resources we have in North America.

"Complementary population dynamics are one of the main reasons favoring a new framework for immigration. The flow of people between our countries has evolved into a more complex phenomenon," he said.

The Mexican government for years has tried to open the way for more immigrant labor in the United States.

Earlier this year President Bush proposed that millions of illegal aliens, mostly Mexicans, be allowed to gain legal status for an initial three-year period if they can prove they have jobs, but it met stiff opposition in Congress.

Fox said that post-Sept. 11 security concerns should not interfere with trade or migration.

"Now our bilateral agenda has to deal with common concerns regarding security and terrorism," he said. "We must work together to establish and put into practice effective rules to keep our flows of goods, our flows of people moving."

Fox is also visiting Michigan and Minnesota during his three-day trip. The U.S. Midwest is home to more than 2 million people of Mexican origin and is a destination for many immigrants. Chicago's Mexican population is the largest in the United States outside of East Los Angeles.

There are an estimated 10 million to 13 million Mexicans living in the United States, by some estimates as many as 5 million of them illegally.


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