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Mexico Urges Bush to Veto Border Fence Plan


Mexican leaders are urging President Bush to veto a bill calling for the construction of a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration.

Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderon says the U.S. cannot reduce migration by issuing decrees or building physical barriers. He says a border fence would force immigrants to take more dangerous routes into the United States, resulting in more deaths.

A spokesman for outgoing Mexican President Vicente Fox says his government strongly opposes building walls along the border.

The spokesman says a fence would hurt relations with the United States and create a climate of tension in border communities.

The U.S. Congress passed legislation Friday ordering construction of an 1100 kilometer fence along the Mexican border at a cost of $1.2 billion. President Bush must sign the bill for it to go into effect.

Many U.S. lawmakers supported the fence seeking to boost their campaigns for mid-term congressional elections November 7.

Mr. Calderon criticized the U.S. plan Monday while on a visit to Guatemala, as he began his first international trip since winning Mexico's disputed presidential election in July. He is to take office December 1.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon acknowledged Monday that the fence issue is not perceived positively outside the United States. But, he asked for patience as the U.S. comes to terms with border security.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.