What to Expect from the Bush-Fox Cancun Meeting

President Bush is meeting with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts in Cancun, Mexico, beginning Thursday. Mexican President Vicente Fox and Bush will talk about immigration reform, already a hot-button topic on Capitol Hill. Madeleine Brand talks with Jorge Ramos, a reporter for Spanish-language Univision News, about what to expect from the meeting.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

That's President Bush speaking in Chichén Itza, Mexico. He's there for talks in Cancun with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Jorge Ramos is a journalist with the Spanish language television news show Univision News. He's there at the site of the summit and he joins me now. Welcome to the program.

Mr. JORGE RAMOS (Reporter, Univision News): Great to be here.

BRAND: Now, immigration reform is very much on the minds of Americans this week. Where is it on the agenda in Cancun?

Mr. RAMOS: It is the most important thing for Mexicans. And we have remember that we're talking about 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Most of them are from Mexico. And for the first time when President Fox met President Bush in February 2001, they both promised an immigration agreement. It is very important for Mexicans and nothing has happened. So, the expectations for Mexicans, it is that President Fox could convince President Bush to pressure or to influence or to have some sort of an impact with the Senate. And therefore they can eventually approve an immigration agreement, or at least to change the laws in the United States.

BRAND: Well, what does President Vicente Fox want exactly?

Mr. RAMOS: Legalization for 12 million undocumented immigrants. We have to face two facts. The first is that there are millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States and that they won't go back to their country of origin. What President Fox wants is to have these people legally in the United States. And the second thing is that also we have to face the reality that every single year about half a million Mexicans cross the border illegally into the United States. The United States needs more immigrants, but at the same time, we don't, and Mexico does not want that about 300 or 400 immigrants die every single year at the border, so they need two things. To legalize those who are here. And to provide visas to those who are coming every single year into the United States. That's what President Fox wants.

BRAND: And what does President Bush want from President Fox on this?

Mr. RAMOS: Security. After 9/11 the most important issue for the United States has to do with secure the borders, to live in a country in which you feel safe. The problem is that it is almost impossible for Mexico to provide this security. However, President Fox and President Bush could disagree on whatever you want. At least they both can agree on the fact that people shouldn't die at the border.

BRAND: You know, some people over here say, why doesn't Mexico fix problems there in Mexico with jobs and with the economy, so that people wouldn't have to come over here and look for jobs?

Mr. RAMOS: At the end, that's a solution. However, we don't have it right now. If you're a Mexican right now living in Mexico City and you're lucky enough to have a job, you would make 42 pesos. That's about three dollars fifty a day. So it doesn't matter what the Senate does. It doesn't matter what the Congress does, it has to do with economics.

BRAND: Obviously, this is a very important topic, but are the two leaders discussing anything else?

Mr. RAMOS: Well, yes. I mean, they're discussing commerce and they're discussing terrorism, but the most important thing, no doubt about it, has to do with immigration. And this is something that they created, these huge expectations, five years ago, and unfortunately nothing concrete has been done.

BRAND: Well, I wonder if President Fox has the power to make any changes. He's on his way out. There's a presidential election coming up. Does he have the power to do anything now?

Mr. RAMOS: Not at all. I mean, he could've done something a couple of years ago, but he was not able to convince the United States that it is in the best interest of the United States in terms of national security to legalize those who are already in the United States. Because, the least that you should know if you are fighting terrorism, is to know who is in your country. But President Fox was unable to do that with President Bush.

BRAND: Jorge Ramos is a journalist with the Spanish language TV Univision News. He joined us from Cancun, Mexico. And Jorge Ramos, thank you very much for joining us.

Mr. RAMOS: Thank you. Gracias.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.