Mexico City, May 15, 2006 – President Bush will deliver a major address to the American people tonight about the need to reform U.S. immigration law, to secure our common border, and to create a program that matches immigrants who want to work legally in the United States with the employers who need them. The President’s speech has important and positive implications for U.S.-Mexico relations, and I urge all of you to watch his speech or read his remarks.
President Bush spoke to President Fox yesterday by phone and assured him that the United States will not militarize our common border. Both Presidents have shown great leadership in their commitments to making our border safer and ensuring the free and legal flow of people and commerce north and south.
The United States will be enhancing our efforts to secure the border area by increasing the presence of border patrol agents and adding important electronic equipment to monitor activity in our border region. If called upon to take a role, the U.S. National Guard can relieve our Customs and Border Patrol of some routine tasks, and permit more border agents to focus on capturing the criminals and smugglers who seek to harm ordinary Americans and Mexicans.
Security along the border is a responsibility that the U.S. and Mexico must share, and residents on both sides of the border have a common interest in seeing more resources devoted to putting narcotraffickers and other criminals out of business. The U.S. and Mexican governments will continue to work together to control the border and finds way to collaborate in our efforts to make the region safer.
The United States has the right as a sovereign nation to make our border region more secure. The President is the Commander in Chief of the United States, and his responsibilities include ensuring the safety of the American people. Several million people are living and working in the United States in violation of our immigration laws, and in my view, our Congress will not seriously consider any legislation addressing their presence in our country unless we can make our borders safe and secure. During President Bush’s speech, you will see that respect for the law is of great importance to the American people. But, we are also a welcoming nation with a strong immigrant tradition, and we will continue to welcome those who enter our country in compliance with our laws.