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Mexican President Calderon on Goodwill Tour of Several U.S. Cities

Mexican President Felipe Calderon went on a tour of several U.S. cities with large Mexican populations; however, his itinerary did not include Washington, D.C. Jeffrey Kaye reports on Calderon's trip.

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    Next tonight, Mexico's president goes north of the border. NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Kaye of KCET-Los Angeles has our report.

  • JEFFREY KAYE, NewsHour Correspondent:

    It was a whirlwind trip to five U.S. cities in as many days. The president of Mexico, who returned home yesterday, met with leaders of business and government and with representatives of Mexican immigrant communities.

    But even though this was Felipe Calderon's first U.S. visit since taking office in December 2006, neither President Bush nor Washington, D.C., was on his itinerary.

    That was in marked contrast to his predecessor's first U.S. trip in 2001: President Bush greeted Vicente Fox with an elaborate White House ceremony, and both leaders spoke of the promise of immigration reform.

    VICENTE FOX, Former President of Mexico (through translator): We must and we can reach an agreement on migration before the end of this very year, which will allow us, before the end of our respective terms, to make sure that there are no Mexicans who have not entered this country legally in the United States.


    It didn't happen, not then and not since. Instead, immigration became a hot political issue in the U.S., as the Mexican population here grew to an estimated 12 million. About half that number are believed to be undocumented.

    There was good reason for the Mexican president to skip Washington, according to UCLA Professor Raul Hinojosa. He consults with government officials on both sides of the border.

  • RAUL HINOJOSA, Professor, UCLA:

    I think that the president feels that it's necessary for his administration to open up new channels of communication and not raise it to the level of a state visit, where there's actual expectations that things are going to be resolved, because we're clearly not in that mode.

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