Steve LeBlanc, AP, February 12, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP)—Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Monday decried anti-immigrant perceptions in the United States and argued that Mexican immigrants complement American workers.
“The worst thing that happened in this country is this anti-Mexican or anti-immigrant perception of people. We need to contain this,” Calderon said after a speech at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
“I need to change in Mexico the perception that the Americans are the enemy, and it is important to change the perception that the Mexicans are the enemy,” he said. “We are neighbors, we are friends and we must be allies.”
“You have two economies. One economy is intensive in capital, which is the American economy. One economy is intensive in labor, which is the Mexican economy,” he said. “We are two complementary economies, and that phenomenon is impossible to stop.”
“The American economy is suffering, but if you take the point of view that the solution for this situation, a lack of competitiveness of the American economy, is closing the border, you are making a very big mistake,” Calderon said.
During his speech, Calderon said that he had worked hard to combat drug gangs in Mexico but that the effort would be long, costly and difficult. He also pointed a finger at the U.S., saying the drug trade in Mexico is contingent on the demand for illegal drugs north of the border.
“Drugs are not just our problem. We are the neighbor of the largest consumer in the world,” he said.