[JURIST] US President George W. Bush vowed Wednesday to increase efforts to reform US immigration laws [JURIST news archive] and crack down on illegal drug trafficking during a press conference [transcript] in Merida, Mexico, with new Mexican President Felipe Calderon [official website; BBC profile]. Bush pledged to work with lawmakers across party lines, but noted that immigration issues are sensitive and can inflame passions. Bush reiterated his belief both the US and Mexico would benefit from a temporary guest worker program [Washington Post backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The press conference with Calderon ended a seven-day trip by President Bush through five countries in Latin America. AP has more.
In February 2007, Arturo Sarukhan [official profile], Mexico's ambassador to the US, said his country is launching an intensive lobbying effort [JURIST report] to secure an immigration reform agreement between the two nations. Mexico's attempts to address the needs of "undocumented workers" often directly conflict with US government efforts to discourage immigrants from entering the US illegally. Mexico's decision in January 2007 to provide illegal immigrants with tools [JURIST report], such as satellite tracking devices [The Standard report] meant to ensure their successful flight to America, is the latest development in a strained US-Mexico relationship. In October 2006, President Bush signed legislation authorizing the construction of a 700-mile fence [JURIST news archive] along the Mexican border.