McCain gets a good review in Mexico
Paper hails his views on trade, immigration
MEXICO CITY - Presidential hopeful John McCain called for a "tamper-proof" temporary worker program, promoted free trade, and praised joint drug-fighting efforts yesterday as he finished a three-day tour of Colombia and Mexico.
"I believe we must have comprehensive immigration reform, but Americans want our borders secured first," McCain said, speaking in a heavily guarded federal police hangar in the rough Mexico City neighborhood of Iztapalapa.
"In the short term we need a temporary worker program, but one that is verifiable, with biometric tamper-proof documents. . . . When it is known that people who come illegally to our country can't get a job, it will cut off the magnet that attracts people," McCain said.
McCain met with President Felipe Calderon to discuss immigration, trade, and the recently passed Merida Initiative, a $400 million US aid package to help Mexico fight an increasingly bloody drug war.
McCain's visit was eagerly awaited in Mexico, where he enjoys a largely favorable standing despite deeply negative opinions of President Bush.
In an editorial, El Universal newspaper said McCain's support for US aid to help Mexico fight its drug cartels, his push for immigration reform, and strong backing of NAFTA showed he has "a better understanding of this country than that shown so far by his opponent."
The foray into Latin American was intended to remind voters that he can operate easily on the world stage and to contrast his international free-trade policy against Barack Obama's.
Obama, who spent much of this week in potential general election swing states, has vowed if elected to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to include enforceable labor and environmental provisions.
In Mexico and Colombia, McCain hailed the economic benefits of free trade and raised prospects of a hemisphere-wide agreement if elected.