Translated by The Watchdog, February 13, 2008
I know that you have risked your lives in order to give opportunities to your children, to your families. I know that in each one of you there s a history of heroism and also a history of pain.
A history of heroism because is not easy to leave your country, your house, your Nation and to cross the border risking it all. A history of heroism because each year more than 400 Mexicans die trying to cross the border, perhaps more than in any another part of the world.
When they tell me that the Government of Mexico what wants to multiply migration, attacking and criticizing our defense for the migrant, I say that they are mistaken. Because I know that Mexico in each migrant it loses its bravest people, its strongest people, its more audacious people, because I know that in each migrant there is a family that is disconnected.
I come here, to Chicago, to Illinois, because I know that my duty as President, especially in the difficult moments that the undocumented are passing, of harassment, of clear discrimination in some cases, my duty is to echo the voice of all the Mexicans, the voice of all of Mexico telling them we are with you.
We are truly determined that Mexico be present with you, supporting you, helping you, understanding you.
I also know, my friends, that my duty as the President is to work and to work very, very hard so that immigration will not be in the future the only option for our people.
When they ask me what is, exactly, the cause of this phenomenon, seems to me to that we cannot deceive ourselves. The U.S. economy and the economy of Mexico are absolutely complementary economies; one is intensive in capital, like their economy, another is intensive in labor as is the Mexican and I have always said that labor and capital necessarily are complemented, that they are similar as the left shoe and the right shoe, both have to be put on at the same time in order to walk.
And just as labor has sought capital, the investment here in the United States, we are seeking to attract investment and capital to Mexico, to generate in Mexico well paid jobs for the Mexicans so they don’t continue separating our families and our communities.
We have worked and we have been speaking and relating to diverse actors in the political panorama in Mexico and in the United States, above all with those who have influences in this migratory debate issue and we have expressed to them with firmness the position of the Government of Mexico that can be summarize in five points.
First. We want that the extraordinary cultural, social, and economic contribution of the Mexican migrants in the United States to be recognized.
Second. We want that that recognition be reflected in a greater certainty, in a greater stability, in a greater tranquility so that our compatriots can do what they came to do, to work in peace, to be productive, support their family and be recognized or not, that their work has also helped this Nation.
Third. That for the Mexican Government it is important, of course, to have a secure border. When they think that we are disputing this point, they are also mistaken, yes, of course I want a secure border, of course I want a secure border for our people, for our children and also for the Americans or any person that live on both sides of the border.
The Government of Mexico is commited and works for having a secure border with the United States, but we should not make a mistake, its not the people, is the organized crime and not the migrant Mexicans the ones that are a problem of national security for the United States.
I think that both nations should recognize what is a reality, the world is being globalized, the economies are being built global and the nations that are prospering, the regions that are prospering, like Asia, and Europe, are nations that recognize that reality and they are capable of being integrated in larger economies of scale and in larger territories.
What we should do Americans and Mexicans is to recognize that if we want prosperity, that if we want to progress we should become united. Not by closing our border, not by canceling our exchanges are we going to prosper, we either prosper together incorporating and integrating or there will not be prosperity neither for Mexico or for the United States.
We want to build bridges because we know that bridges, more than walls, are the ones that join people. And I also know, I understand the worry of many American citizens, but I can share with you, my friends, what some time ago Icommented to President Bush in his visit to Mexico last year.
I assured the President, I told him, that he can do more to reduce immigration,to reduce immigration it would benefit more a kilometer of highway in Zacatecas or in Michoacán than 20 kilometers of border wall covering Texas or Arizona.
We want to be near the Mexicans in Chicago and anywhere in the world and in the U.S. And we have an idea to continue working with you in five main issues.
First. We will dedicate all the resources at our reach to be able to improve the services that the Government gives. I know that the consular services have always left a lot to be desired and more now since the American authorities are asking for documents for anything.
By that reason, friends, I have decreed in the Budget that all the incomes that be received for passports or other documents in the U.S. consulates, that money remain in the consulates to lend better service.
Second. Starting this week, various mexican consulates in the United States, especially the one in Chicago, will use mobile truck consulates to function with newly hired personnel, with new vehicles, new equipment, so they can vist the 80 cities in the region and offer consular services.
We are going to continue working with those programs and others more. Today, for example, we signed two covenants, one with the State of Illinois and another with the City of Chicago, a covenant to do an exchange of teachers, we are going to bring Mexican teachers here, so they can teach our culture, our traditions and from here we are going to send teachers to Mexico, if you want you could lend us a hand teach English at our communities, to our children that need that Instrument.
Third. We are going to continue working to generate a different environment in the migratory theme; this should remain clear that the Mexicans, that Mexico is not the enemy and Mexicans are not any threat for this great Nation.
That we want to prompt and make recognition of the enormous contributions that the Mexicans do to the U.S. economy. Recent studies have shown, above all one done by the Counsel of Economic Advisors of the White House, they have shown that the immigrant workers, especially the Mexicans, do not displace native workers, to the contrary, they complement the work that they carry out, they enlarge also the income of the American workers. It is calculated that 30 Billion dollars per year, is what the migratory labor force contributes to the income of the U.S. workers.
It also has been shown that the balance that the migrants costs the American taxpayer, this is false thus, this study that is not from the Government of Mexico, is from the Government of the United States and the Counsel of Economic Advisors of the White House, indicates that the balance is a lot more than what the migrants pay in taxes upon working than what they receive in services, and that is so much that they are even maintaining a good part of the retirement pensions of thousands of U.S. workers.
We have to do an enormous effort by changing the image of the immigrant, of Mexico and of the Mexicans, and that implies, exactly, to put clear emphasis in the idea that we are here to build, we are for harmonizing with this great nation our efforts, because the prosperity of the U.S. is directly linked to immigrant labor especially Mexicans.
[Editors Note: The original text can be read here.]