U.S. and Mexican border governors call for US immigration reform
Governors call for focus on immigration reform in Congress in the New Year
A call for the reform of the United States immigration policies has come from U.S. and Mexican border governors. Their calls were made at the close of a border governors meeting in New Mexico.
However, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has said that it is unrealistic to think that Congress will act on such a hot political issue before the November general election.
In a joint statement released by the governors they said they "recognize the need for comprehensive immigration reform…based on the fundamental premise of respecting the human dignity and human rights of individuals being repatriated."
Richard said he hopes that the groundwork for new legislation could be laid after the general election and that that immigration reform would become a priority for Congress in the New Year.
Speaking at a press conference Richardson said "There has to be a national effort, and it's really up to Democrats and Republicans alike. It's not just a partisan issue."
He said that any new legislation should have a tougher stance on businesses who hired undocumented workers. Richardson also said that it should focus on a path to legalization for immigrants who learn English, pay back taxes and a fine.
The joint governor's statement said that there is a "lack of coordination, information exchange and joint activities" on border security by the U.S. and Mexican federal governments. They called for improvements on border crossings to improve the flow of international trade.
Richardson said "We want dialogue not division". He pointed out how important their meeting was despite the ongoing tension over Arizona's immigration law.
Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padres Elias said "This meeting clearly shows the political maturity that we have."
The meeting was set to take place in Phoenix however Arizona Governor Jan Brewer canceled the event due to a planned boycott by Mexican governors, over Arizona's new immigration law. The governors of Texas and Arizona did not attend Monday's meeting.
Richardson was the only United States governor to attend along with six governors of Mexican states. Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado of California filled in for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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