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Mexico City
January 7, 2004

Statement by Antonio O. Garza, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, who met with President Bush and attended the White House announcement today:

"Today, on the eve of the Special Summit of the Americas, President Bush called on the Congress to pass new immigration laws that promote compassion for unprotected workers and match up willing workers with willing employers.

"The President laid out a vision for a new immigration policy based on principles he has held as long as I have known him. He fully appreciates the benefits these recent immigrants have consistently brought to the country and has called on the Congress to join him in shaping a new policy consistent with the vision he outlined to President Fox weeks after his inauguration.

"Those of you who read or heard his speech will have seen that the President has made very specific proposals to Congress to offer temporary worker status to undocumented men and women currently holding jobs in the U.S. For people outside the U.S., he wants to put in place an orderly system to address the needs of workers and employers. He has also proposed to Congress working with other countries to set up a transfer of retirement funds and a personal account which workers can tap into on their return to their home."

While the proposals cover all immigrants, Ambassador Garza indicated that "for Mexico, this speech has the potential of drawing our two countries closer together and creating economic benefits for people on both sides of the border."

The full text of the speech is available along with other background information at

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