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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
April 4, 2001

Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman

Joint Statement of the US-Mexico High Level Working Group on Migration

The US-Mexico High Level Working Group on Migration signed a joint statement on April 4 in Washington, D.C. Following is the text of that statement.

Begin Text:

The governments of Mexico and the United States today began talks intended to achieve a framework for orderly, legal, safe and humane migration and for the protection of worker rights. As Presidents Vicente Fox and George W. Bush directed during their recent meeting in Guanajuato, the talks are chaired by the Secretaries of Government and Foreign Relations of Mexico and the Secretary of State and the Attorney General of the United States.

Both governments view this process as an exercise of shared responsibility, with a long term perspective, to ensure that migration of Mexicans to the United States is of mutual opportunity and benefit. Both governments are also committed to the regulation and safety of persons at our common border. It is recognized that the components of the agenda form a single undertaking, seeking an in-depth solution on migration.

The first round of talks established the mechanics of the talks and a timetable for future activities, as well as the parameters of this binational effort. The officials of both countries exchanged points of view concerning short, medium and long term objectives, as well as an initial analysis of the actions that might be undertaken by the executive and legislative branches of each country.

The agenda includes discussion of border safety, the H-2 visa program, ideas on regularization of undocumented Mexicans in the United States, possible alternatives for temporary workers with an emphasis on circularity, worker rights and labor demand, cooperation on law enforcement issues, regional economic development, and the scheduling of future meetings of the high level working group on migration.

The two sides agreed to urge strongly that all Mexicans currently in the United States who are eligible for the benefits provided under the Legal Immigration and Family Equity (LIFE) Act, take advantage of those benefits in all categories, including 245(i) adjustment, which has an application deadline of April 30, 2001.

The officials agreed to jointly host several meetings along the border to strengthen existing mechanisms and develop new ideas for cooperation on border safety. In addition, both the governments have agreed to significantly increase resources in this area. Priority will be given to programs aimed at combating the smuggling of people and preventing the deaths of migrants at the border.

The work initiated today in Washington, D.C. seeks to deal with the different aspects of the migration phenomenon. The working group will deliver a preliminary report to the Binational Commission meeting to be held this summer. Moreover, the group will endeavor to produce its initial results by the fall of this year and report to our two presidents. End Text

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