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State leaders greet Mexican president

Mexican president visits L.A. Wed. night
February 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
California state leaders warmly greeted Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose first visit to the U.S. is largely aimed at reshaping the immigration debate.In an address to the joint Senate and Assembly, President Calderon said both sides of the border must think of immigration as a "shared responsibility."

"Our nations will never find prosperity by closing their doors," said President Calderon.

The Mexican President says in his first year in office he has taken steps to strengthen the border, reformed his country's tax and pension system, and attracted a record $23 billion in foreign investment.

"We are taking great efforts to ensure that in the future, no Mexican needs to leave our country to find job opportunities elsewhere," said President Calderon.

Still, President Calderon said more cooperation is needed.

"Ensuring a better future for California and Mexico requires making immigration an orderly, humane and safe process, respectful of human rights," said President Calderon.

Calderon's message ruffled a few feathers.

"I think it was entirely inappropriate as a head of state to enter our country and enter the political domestic debate," said state Senator Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks.

Outside the Capitol, Mexican-American protesters criticized the President, telling him to go home.

"I came over here when I was 14-years-old. Corrupted government, poverty was still there -- and it's still there," said protester Maria Cristina Ramos. "It hasn't gotten any better."

California is Calderon's final stop on a five-day tour of the U.S. It's Calderon's first trip to the U.S. since taking office in 2006.

After his address to lawmakers, Calderon met privately with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his advisers on environmental and trade issues.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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