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Office of Media Affairs
September 5, 2001
Briefing by Ari Fleischer, August 22, 2001
MR. FLEISCHER: Good afternoon. For those new here, welcome to Crawford. For those of you who have been here, I hope you continue to enjoy your stay.
The President this morning spoke with President Fox of Mexico. The two leaders spoke for approximately 20 minutes. They discussed the economic situation in Argentina. They both expressed their desire for sustainability in the region and particularly in Argentina. They are going to continue their efforts to work with both Argentina and the International Monetary Fund. They welcome the movement and the progress that has been made in bringing economic relief to Argentina.
They also talked about the forthcoming trip of President Fox to Washington for what will of course be President Bush's first state visit. The President is very honored that the first foreign leader who will come for an official visit -- state visit will be President Fox of our good neighbor, Mexico.
Q In the conversation with President Fox, did they discuss immigration, and can you generally summarize for us the pace and specificity of what they hope to talk about, vis a vis immigration, at the state visit?
MR. FLEISCHER: President Bush and President Fox did discuss the topic of immigration and they both agreed that it was very important and it will be a welcome change in US-Mexico relations to have a system in place that can welcome immigrants to the United States in a safer, a more legal, and a more humane manner. President Bush is very concerned about people who have lost their lives trying to find a better life coming to the United States. President Bush recognizes that there are many employers in many parts of our society that benefit from having immigrants come to the United States and work in this country. We are a richer nation for it.
The President is working with the government of Mexico. There is a Cabinet-level group that is working with their counterparts in Mexico and I'm not going to get into any more specifics than that. But the President does view immigration as a major strength for the United States and as a border governor, the President has seen the wonderful strength of immigrants to the United States. The Hispanic community has thrived in Texas, has thrived in the United States.
Q If not about specifics, how about timing? If it's so important, what is the time frame the President would like to pursue this with Congress?
MR. FLEISCHER: President Fox of Mexico will be here in just a short number of weeks and it's possible that you can anticipate some further announcements when President Fox is here.