- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The following are excerpts from yesterday’s press conference with President Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Merida, Mexico:

Stephen Dinan, National political reporter for The Washington Times: “President Calderon, it’s been reported you have relatives working in the United States. What have you learned from their experiences? Do you know, do they want to become citizens? And do you know, are they there legally?”

Mr. Calderon: “Yes, I do have family in the United States, and what I can tell you is that these are people who work and respect that country.

“They pay their taxes to the government. These are people who work in the field. They work in the fields with vegetables. They probably handle that which you eat, the lettuce, et cetera.

“These are people who respect the United States. These are people who have children, who want these children to be educated with respect for the land where they live and with respect for Mexico.

“I am from Michoacan, and in Michoacan, we have 4 million people. Two million of these Michoacanos are in the States.

“We want them to come back. We want them to find jobs here in Mexico. We miss them. These are our best people. These are bold people. They’re young. They’re strong. They’re talented. They have overcome tremendous adversity. We’re working so that they can come back to their country someday.

“And I’m saying this for all Mexicans, not only those Mexicans that I am related to by blood, by land, soil, air. And I want to say that I am fighting so that instead of having our people cross the border to find work, we want investments to cross the border and come over here.

“The U.S. economy is capital-intensive. We are labor-intensive. We can give democracy to our people if we find sound basis so that we could also find those factors which can give jobs to our people.

“I have said this, and I will continue to say this. I hope that someday everybody will believe as I do. I believe in work.

“I believe that I will see all of these people coming back and embrace them, knowing that we live in countries that defend liberty and freedom.”

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