President Felipe Calderon blasted U.S. immigration policies on Sunday and promised to fight harder to protect the rights of Mexicans in the U.S., saying “Mexico does not end at its borders.”
The criticism earned Calderon a standing ovation during his first state-of-the nation address.
“We strongly protest the unilateral measures taken by the U.S. Congress and government that have only persecuted and exacerbated the mistreatment of Mexican undocumented workers,” he said. “The insensitivity toward those who support the U.S. economy and society has only served as an impetus to reinforce the battle . . . for their rights.”
He also reached out to the millions of Mexicans living in the United States, many illegally, saying: “Where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.”
Since taking office in December, Calderon has maintained strong ties with the United States, but he has often denounced U.S. immigration policy, including more deportations that have divided many families, sometimes forcing U.S.-born children to build new lives in Mexico.
Calderon, meanwhile, has garnered some of the highest approval ratings in Mexico’s history.
He said Sunday that Mexico has created 618,000 new jobs since January and needs to do more to close the giant gap between the rich and the poor. He also promised not to let up in his nationwide crackdown on drug gangs who control large swaths of Mexican territory.