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Mexican President Criticizes U.S. Fence

By E. EDUARDO CASTILLO
The Associated Press
Thursday, October 26, 2006; 10:06 PM

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's president sharply criticized President Bush's signing Thursday of a bill to build 700 miles of additional fencing on its southern border, calling the move an "embarrassment."

Bush signed the bill, approved by the Senate last month, despite pleas from the Mexican government for a veto.

President Vicente Fox told reporters in the Caribbean resort city of Cancun that the fence would not stop millions of Mexicans from heading north in search of jobs.

"It is an embarrassment for the United States," Fox said. "It is proof, perhaps, that the United States does not see immigration as a subject that corresponds to both countries."

President-elect Felipe Calderon, who takes over from Fox on Dec. 1, agreed.

"The decision made by Congress and the U.S. government is deplorable," Calderon said while on tour in Canada. "Humanity committed a grave error by constructing the Berlin wall and I am sure that today the United States is committing a grave error in constructing a wall along our northern border."

The Mexican foreign ministry later said in a news release that the construction of a wall affects the United States' relationship with Mexico, as well as with Central American countries, from which thousands emigrate northward.

On Wednesday, Mexico, supported by 27 countries, made a declaration at the Organization of American States, expressing their "profound concern" about the plan.

An estimated 11 million Mexicans live in the United States, about half of them illegally.

© 2006 The Associated Press