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U.S. Hispanic Caucus Meets With Fox

February 21, 2001

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Members of the U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with President Vicente Fox and pledged to help Mexico seek a fairer U.S. immigration policy.

The delegation _ 12 Democrats of the caucus’ 18 members _ said they talked with Fox on Tuesday about ending U.S. anti-drug certification of Mexico and pushing for immigration rules that would allow workers to eventually get legal U.S. residency.

``The caucus is in a perfect position to assist President Fox and our colleagues in Congress to advocate the kind of changes and the kind of relations we all want to see with Mexico,″ said Texas Rep. Silvestre Reyes, who chairs the caucus.

After the 1 1/2-hour meeting at the presidential residence in Mexico City, Reyes described Fox as a ``a very knowledgeable, very engaging individual.″

``We are committed to working with President Fox and with our own president to eliminating or changing the certification process,″ Reyes said, referring to the law requiring U.S. presidents to certify annually which of nearly 30 countries are cooperating in the fight against drug trafficking. Those not certified face possible sanctions.

The delegation also discussed issues such as education, water supplies in border communities, the possible creation of a joint border parks and development funds for Mexico.

Much of the talk focused on immigration, especially Texas Sen. Phil Gramm’s proposal for a guest worker program for Mexican laborers, including some undocumented workers already in the country.

The proposal by Gramm, a Republican, would not offer permanent residency to people who entered the country illegally, something the Hispanic Caucus says it will fight for.

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