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Friday, June 25, 2004

Washington state Gov. Gary Locke says he opposes Bush migrant guest worker proposal

Washington state Gov. Gary Locke says he opposes Bush migrant guest worker proposal

Washington state Gov. Gary Locke says he opposes Bush migrant guest worker proposal

ISAAC GUZMAN
Thursday, June 24, 2004
(06-24) 16:11 PDT GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) --

Washington state Gov. Gary Locke, a longtime supporter of Mexican migrants, said Thursday he opposes U.S. President George W. Bush's proposed temporary guest-worker program, and is more in favor of an amnesty.

The Bush proposal, which would allow illegal migrants who have jobs waiting for them to live and work temporarily in the United States, "is very unpopular among Mexican-Americans in the United States," Locke said.

The governor's comments came during a visit to western Jalisco state to promote Washington apples and other state products. He was accompanied by representatives of the state's business community.

"I am grateful to the Mexicans for their contributions, their work in Washington and I am opposed to discrimination against them," Locke said, noting that his state is spending US$40 million to build permanent and temporary housing for migrant farmworkers as well as offering free health care to pregnant and undocumented women.

The governor also recently signed legislation allowing the children of illegal migrants to attend Washington state universities at in-state tuition rates. At least 10 percent of the state's population is of Mexican origin, he said.

Regarding Bush's proposal, Locke said he tended to be more in favor of an amnesty for illegal migrants who have lived in the United States for a long time, similar to that which President Bill Clinton proposed when he was in office.

On Wednesday, Locke met with President Vicente Fox in Mexico City, after which he noted that he had made progress in expanding trade with Mexico, although he has yet to reach agreement on pressing agricultural trade issues.

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