Powell in Mexico for talks with President Fox
Immigration high on agenda
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- After almost four years of minimal progress, Secretary of State Colin Powell says prospects are improving for congressional action to grant legal status to millions of undocumented aliens in the United States.
The immigration issue was high on Powell's agenda Tuesday as he headed into talks with President Vicente Fox and other senior Mexican officials.
Powell flew to Mexico with five fellow members of President Bush's Cabinet.
Last January, in an apparent bid for the votes of Hispanics and segments of the U.S. business community, Bush unveiled an ambitious immigration reform proposal whose key feature would provide temporary legal status to many of the more than 8 million migrants who live in the United States without government approval. Migrants would have to provide proof of employment to qualify.
In the 10 months since Bush spelled out the proposal, however, it has failed to make any headway.
Powell said now that the election is over and since there has been substantial progress making the U.S.-Mexico border more secure after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "there could be a more favorable environment" for immigration reform legislation.
He acknowledged, however, that it is not yet clear how the new Congress taking office in January will deal with the issue.
Fox said the time is ripe for a migration accord. "We have done all the analysis, diagnostics and problem solving possible," Fox said in a radio interview Monday. "There's no reason to lose much time."
Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez praised the Bush administration's support for Mexico's efforts to promote consular identification cards that help Mexicans living abroad open bank accounts or apply for a driver's license in some parts of the United States.
Powell planned to spend several hours Tuesday with his colleagues grappling with a series of cross-border issues.
Mexico supports U.S. immigration reform, objecting to the precarious situation that many Mexicans in the United States without permission face despite their significant contributions to the U.S. economy. Last week, Mexican Interior Secretary Santiago Creel called U.S. migration policy "absurd."
Bush and Fox first broached the subject of immigration reform less than a month after Bush took office in 2001. Fox said last week he believes that 2005 may finally be the year when significant progress may be possible. (Mexico's Fox backs Bush on immigration)
"Neither of our countries will be in elections next year," Fox observed. But Creel warned against "raising expectations beyond what is politically viable and really possible."
On hemispheric relations, Powell acknowledged there has been a shift to the left in several South American countries but said he is "not deeply troubled by it at all. I want to work with whoever the people elect in those countries."
He said it wasn't shocking that people in the region are beginning to make different choices when they go to the polls if they haven't seen the kind of progress they were expecting.
As an example of the leftist trend, he cited the election two years ago of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but he said Silva "has been acting quite responsibly with respect to economic and fiscal policy."
Powell reserved judgment on the implications of the leftist coalition that was elected last week in Uruguay.
Actually Section109, my friend, I didn't vote for Bush last week. I did, as I promised, sit out the election. I informed the RNC and the White House months ago via E-Mail and mail responses I wouldn't support Bush with my vote due to this issue. I don't like extreme liberalisim and I like RiNO's (liberal Repubs' even less--I've been a registered Repub since I was teen.
Did I laugh at the loss handed to ultra-liberal Kerry? Yes I did. If a real "conservative" beat Bush, I'd be twice as happy. I believe in our nations soverignity and borders and Bush might have been the "lesser of 2 evils" on this issue.
Look, we all know the shame and lawlessness going on in our streets due to illegal immigration, which has brought finacial and social problems to our shores. We all know 9-11 and the whole Iraq war was caused by 19 illegal aliens (some Visa overstayers).
Poll after poll shows 75 to 80% of all Americans want less illegal immigration. Heck, 47% of Hispanics and nearly 70% of American Indians voted for Prop.200 in Arizona...yet the will of the people is being muted in our current 1 party system :wacko:
Section, what can I say? I just hope if another 9-11 happens or we begin to see more and more gang violence and anarchy in our streets (LA style), folks like me, you, Bitonti, Green Jets&Ham, Piper, Shakin 318, Bugg, Latin Lawyer and all the others that have openly spoke out against this travesty will be safe and OK.
I can't say the same for those on the extreme left and cheap labor loving right (RiNO's, CATO Inst).....