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Good news for immigrants

The News
México City, January 15, 2001

A group of U.S. senators last week met with President Vicente Fox and announced a new guest-worker proposal. The senators said they would meet this week to define specific principles for the program and also brief incoming President George W. Bush who will be sworn in on Jan. 20.

It is satisfying to see some people are willing to take this initiative which could significantly reduce the immigration problems which for years has been a sore spot in Mexico-U.S. relations.

According to published reports the U.S. senators said their most significant achievement was the unanimous support of a new guest-worker program for Mexicans that would have the effect of granting amnesty to those currently working illegally in the country -- up to 7 million people -- while allowing others to apply for work from Mexico in the future.

If the proposal is approved it would mean less violations of the immigrant rights and less fatalities among immigrants who risk their lives trying to enter the United States illegally.

The senators' proposal apparently did not fall on deaf ears.

Only hours after the senators' announcement Mexico, Canada and the United States reported the creation of programs to protect the legal rights of the immigrants, assuring them better living conditions and higher wages.

National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Dean Juan Ramon de la Fuente is among those playing an active part in the crusade to protect immigrants.

De la Fuente explained that the UNAM, through a school it has in San Antonio, Texas, will reach out to immigrants, mostly adults, with an ambitious education program to help them finish their studies and thus improve their living conditions.

The dean said the UNAM is working hand-in-glove with the Foreign Relations Secretariat to make this program more efficient.

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