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Bush, Fox Discuss Immigration Reform

President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox say they will continue to work together toward reforming U.S. immigration policy.

President Bush says he and President Fox share a mutual concern to secure their common border. One way to do that is to have what Mr. Bush calls reasonable immigration policies.

"I told President Fox that I had campaigned on this issue," he said. "I made it very clear my position that we need to make sure that where there is a willing worker and a willing employer that that job ought to be filled legally in cases where Americans will not fill that job."

Speaking to reporters following their talks in Santiago, President Bush says he told President Fox that Washington wants to make sure that Mexicans in the United States are treated with respect and dignity.

Mr. Bush has presented a plan to allow undocumented laborers to work legally in the United States, but there has been little legislative movement on that proposal since its introduction in January, partly because it faces opposition from some members of the president's own Republican Party.

The Bush plan would allow undocumented workers to get temporary visas to work legally for a limited amount of time, but those documents would not lead to citizenship. Some Congressional Republicans oppose the plan because they say it rewards people who have entered the country illegally and discourages those who have properly applied for visas at U.S. Embassies in their own countries.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan says immigration reform remains a high priority for the president's second term and was a good portion of the leaders' discussion Sunday.

President Fox said he hopes further talks in Washington will bring some form of agreement between the countries on the issue. He said it is also important to create more jobs at home.

"Mexico wants to fulfill its responsibility to make its economy grow, make it stronger, to have more jobs in Mexico. That is our first priority," said Mr. Fox.

President Fox and President Bush both took part in the APEC summit's final session Sunday. Mr. Bush leaves for Colombia on Monday.