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U.S. Department of State

Remarks with Mexican Foreign Secretary Jorge Castaneda at the Virtual Trade Mission Voices of the Future of APEC Event

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Hotel
Los Cabos, Mexico
October 23, 2002

(7:00pm local time)


QUESTION: Good evening. My name is Bulat Mustafin. I am from Russia, and I am attending PrepaTec of Monterrey, Mexico. Secretary Castaneda, immigration between Mexico and the United States of America has always been an issue. Other APEC member economies, such as Australia, Indonesia, Russia and China, also face this challenge. How would you apply your personal leadership and knowledge to support these member economies, and how can APEC help resolve these issues of immigration?

SECRETARY CASTANEDA: As you know the immigration issue, as you've pointed out, is present in many countries in APEC, and beyond APEC - it's an issue in Europe, it's an issue in South America, in the Mediterranean. In the case of Mexico and the United States, which is the issue that I can address most directly, President Fox has made the question of immigration a central part of his view of the U.S-Mexico relations, of the bilateral relationship. He has raised the immigration issue to the first level, to the primary level, and has begun with President Bush, soon after they both took office, a process which will be complicated, which will be long, but which we hope, we are sure will come to fruition, to reach agreements between the United States and Mexico on immigration issues that are of great importance to both our countries. President Fox has also insisted on trying to defend our Mexican nationals in the United States more effectively than we have been able to in the past, but he mainly acknowledged that the only way that this could be done effectively in the long term is through agreements between both countries, between both nations. And we think, of course, that when we do reach an agreement - and I'm sure we will, largely thanks to the importance that President Bush and Secretary Powell have attached to this issue - when we do reach an agreement, it could become an example for other countries from the developing world that are emigration-generating countries and countries from the developed world that are immigration-receiving countries. We think that the type of agreement the United States and Mexico can reach on this issue will then become something that we can work on, that other countries can usefully follow. And we're very, very optimistic about it.

SECRETARY POWELL: Can I just add a word? The goals that Secretary Castaneda laid out for President Fox are mutual goals, shared by President Bush. We are committed to doing everything we can to settle the immigration disputes that have existed for a long period of time. America is a nation of immigrants - my parents were immigrants. We are enriched by immigrants. We could not survive without immigration, and so we want to remain a society that is open, a society that encourages people to come, to visit, to perhaps live for the rest of their lives in the United States, to become Americans, or to come and enjoy and earn a living for a while, and then return to your country. This will never be far away from our whole national purpose. It's part of our being - immigration and people coming and living in our country and finding new lives in our country is part of our total experience. And so we look forward to continuing our work with Secretary Castaneda and with President Fox toward that mutual goal that Secretary Castaneda spoke of a little earlier.

QUESTION: Thank you.



Released on October 24, 2002

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