- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mexican President Felipe Calderon is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress next month, as drug violence grows on the U.S.-Mexico border and an immigration debate is about to explode on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Calderon, who will address Congress on May 19, will be the first Mexican president to speak to both the House and Senate in almost 10 years. Former President Vicente Fox appeared at the Capitol in 2001. A Mexican Embassy source Thursday confirmed Mr. Calderon’s appearance, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late Wednesday announced his visit.

“As president of Mexico, our neighbor and friend, we look forward to hearing President Calderon’s message to the American people and his views on wayts to strengthen our border communities, fight organized crime and reinforce the essential partnership between our two nations,” she said in a statement.

Mexico’s drug wars have claimed more than 22,700 lives since 2006 and spilled over into one of Mexico’s primary tourist cities on Wednesday, when six people including a woman, her son and a police officer were killed in Acapulco.

On the immigration front, Mr. Calderon will arrive in Washington as the debate heats up between proponents of amnesty for illegal immigrants and those who demand strict enforcement of the borders. Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan has aligned Mexico with the supporters of amnesty, while conceding that the immigration debate is a U.S. domestic issue.

In the latest Mexican Embassy newsletter, he warned of those “who would inject prejudice, hate and xenophobia” into the immigration issue.

Bob Dane, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) on Thursday called the ambassador’s statement “blatant interference by Mexico in our domestic affairs.”

FAIR opposes any bill that would confer amnesty on the estimated 13 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

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