The foreign ministers of Central American countries rejected a
US anti-immigrant plan in a joint declaration issued on Monday.
Foreign ministers from Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala
and other Central American countries held a meeting Monday to find
ways to defend the rights of migrants who travel to the United
States seeking jobs.
"Migrants, regardless of their status, are not and should not be
treated like criminals," the declaration said.
The US House of Representatives approved a plan on Dec. 16,
which would extend a frontier wall with Mexico by a further 1,200
km, increase the number of agents on the border, and send
undocumented workers to prison instead of merely deporting
The plan, which is yet to be ratified by the US Senate, was
immediately rejected by Latin America's governments and civil
organizations, who said it would increase the violent treatment of
their citizens seeking to emigrate to the United States.
The declaration also called for the United States to guarantee
the human rights of migrants in any new legal proposals and to
strictly observe labor laws.
Luis Ernesto Derbez, Mexican foreign minister, said that Central
American governments would be uncompromising in the defense of
their citizens' legal rights.
Derbez also said he had ordered the establishment of a working
group on migration to coordinate policy in the face of the US
reforms, which represent a dramatic toughening of the existing
Thousands of people are thought to cross the 3,200 km US-Mexico
border illegally every day, some risking their lives, in search of
work in the United States.
Also on Monday, Ruben Aguilar, the Mexican president's
spokesman, said that the rate of migration to the United States had
slowed in recent years, and, contrary to common belief, a majority
(85 percent) of the migrants had already been employed in
Aguilar claimed that the migration rate had reduced due to the
"social policy of the Mexican state, which is reducing extreme
Mexico's official figures show that an average of 400,000
Mexicans emigrated to the United States each year during the
five-year rule of President Vicente Fox.
The United States is now home to 10 million Mexican citizens,
half of whom, according to estimates, are undocumented.
(Xinhua News Agency January 10, 2006)