Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Former Mexican President: Building a Wall Won't Help

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Former Mexican President: Building a Wall Won't Help

Article excerpt

Building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico will not resolve the immigration issue, former Mexican President Vicente Fox said Tuesday.

Addressing the problem will require a bilateral, compassionate approach, Fox told a gathering at the Oklahoma City Civic Center.

"Immigration enriches all nations," said Fox, appearing as the speaker at an Executive Management Briefing hosted by the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. "We should solve with wisdom, with common sense, this key issue that has to do with both of our nations."

Fox said he understands the fear the U.S. has experienced since 9/ 11.

"I don't understand building a wall," he said. "Building a wall will only isolate this nation."

Fox said his own grandfather was an immigrant, leaving Cincinnati, Ohio, for Mexico in 1895 to seek his dream.

Fox himself started working for Coca-Cola as a driver, ending his service as president of the company in Mexico. He was president of the country from 2000-2006.

"I am not for open borders," he said. "I am not for illegality."

During a later question-and-answer period, Fox indicated that he sees an opportunity to revisit the open-border issue, if Mexico's economy rises to a level comparable with its U.S. counterpart.

Fox also took aim at recent regional efforts to deal with the problem of illegal immigration. He did not mention Oklahoma's new immigration law, which is currently being challenged in federal court.

"It is a federal issue," he said. "It should be dealt with at the federal level."

Fox said it rests with Congress to deal with illegal immigration.

He voiced support for a proposal before Congress that he said would allow undocumented workers currently in the U.S. to stay, make money for their families, then return home.

Fox also said that a temporary guest worker program would help the U.S. secure the hundreds of thousands of new workers it needs each year to maintain its economy.

Fox also called for more integration of economic effort among the U.S., Mexico and Canada. His appearance drew several protestors against what they termed a "North American Union."

He said that the European Union has transformed Europe and increased economic opportunity and per capita income for its member nations. …

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