November 16, 2001

Fox says no overall accord with U.S. on immigration this year

NEW YORK (EFE) — Mexican President Vicente Fox said here Saturday that, due to the September 11 terrorist attacks, there will be no overall accord with Washington this year on immigration or the legalization of millions of Mexicans residing without visas in the United States.

"What is valuable and important is that, beginning Nov. 20, bilateral talks will resume," said Fox, who was in New York taking part in the U.N. General Assembly.

Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda has said technical talks with U.S. officials on migratory issues will resume Nov. 20.

Fox said he spoke briefly Saturday at the United Nations with his friend U.S. President George W. Bush, who was also on hand for the U.N. meeting.

Prior to the September attacks on New York and Washington, U.S. and Mexican officials had predicted relatively rapid progress toward a watershed immigration accord that would permit many of the Mexicans living illegally in the United States to continue residing and working there.

An estimated 3 million Mexicans reside illegally in the United States.

Officials of the two nations also spoke of a broad "guestworker" program that would allow Mexicans to enter the United States to work.

"Our job is to advance and seek solid proposals, proposals that will be acceptable to the U.S. and Mexican governments and that will be passed by the two legislatures," said Fox.

Conservative U.S. legislators have expressed opposition to any measure resembling an amnesty that would grant legal residence to immigrants who broke the law in entering and remaining in the United States.

Reprinted from the Center for Immigration Studies, Washington, DC

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