Mexican Officials Say Bush Fence Blocking Plan is Stupid

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer

Mexico's foreign secretary Monday leveled his country's sharpest criticism yet at U.S. proposal for a fence along parts of its southern border, condemning it as "stupid" and "underhanded."

In a radio interview, Luis Ernesto Derbez said U.S. legislators who approved the bill were turning a blind eye to the contributions millions of migrants from Mexico and elsewhere make to America's economy and culture.

"It's a law that looks underhanded to everybody ... stupid," Derbez said.

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 239-182 in favor of an immigration enforcement bill, which includes a proposal to build

700 miles of border fencing along parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Under the measure, soldiers and police would help stop people sneaking across, and employers would have to check the legal status of their workers.

Derbez said he was confident the bill would not make it past the U.S. Senate, which he said was not as easily swayed as the House.

Reacting Sunday to the bill's approval, Mexican President Vicente Fox said "this wall is shameful," and called the plan hypocritical for a country made up of immigrants.

Fox has for years called for an immigration agreement with Washington granting some form of legal status to Mexicans who sneak into U.S. territory in search of work.

President Bush proposed a new guest worker program with three-year work visas, but lawmakers refused to include the initiative in the immigration bill passed Friday.

Authorities estimate there are about 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States, about half of them Mexican. There have also been suggestions to build a similar fence across the several thousand miles of Canadian border.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: This reminds me of the feeble efforts by folks in the village of Evanston, IL (the immediate north suburb of Chicago) to try and discourage criminals and others from Chicago driving drunkenly, like bats out of hell coming from Chicago into the north suburb (where crime _was_ virtually zilch for many years.) The only part of Evanston in those day (late 1980's) and even today is the strip of (common street) 1400 to 2400 West Howard Street in Chicago. For many years, that three or four block area where city of Chicago dips north of Howard Street along Bosworth Street and Paulina Street past Juneway Terrace and Jonquil Terrace has been the 'wild west'. They don't call it 'Jonquil Jungle' for no reason. Village of Evanston usually is a straight east/west line north of Howard Street but in that little section behind the elevated tracks the boundary line gets irregular for a few blocks and runs east and in the alley behind Calvary Cemetery (Evanston) over to the lakefront. What the Village of Evanston did was turn _every one_ of the streets which intersect with Howard Street _one way_ southbound into Chicago. Although they left Sheridan Road alone the next two through streets (Clark Street in Chicago becomes 'Chicago Avenue' when it hits Evanston and Western Avenue in Chicago turns into some other street when it reaches Evanston. The only way to get into Evanston from Chicago along there in that crime-ridden area was a little two lane thing behind the elevated tracks where Paulina Street connects into Juneway Terrace. "Those snots!" proclaimed Mayor Daley the Second; "they don't want us in their village!" Either cross into Evanston on Sheridan Road (a nice neighborhood) or drive down Howard Street a number of blocks through the black area until they get to the white area of town again. Then Evanston decided to build a concrete barrier -- a little island -- on _their_ side of Howard Street a few blocks further west, and the Chicago alderman in that neighborhood (Bernie Stone) went to battle with Evanston officials about that. PAT]
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