In a joint press conference with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon in Mérida, Mexico, President George W. Bush said that a good law on immigration would help the economies and security of both the United States and Mexico:
"If people can come into our country, for example, on a temporary basis to work, doing jobs Americans aren't doing, they won't have to sneak across the border. And by the way, a system that encourages people to sneak across the border is a system that leads to human rights abuses. It's a system that promotes coyotes and document forgers. It's a system that allows for the exploitation of citizens who are trying to earn a living for their families."
Comprehensive immigration reform, said Mr. Bush, does not mean an amnesty for those who entered the United States illegally:
"It is not a realistic solution. Some may articulate that, but it's empty talk. And so, therefore, there's got to be a middle ground, a reasonable way to deal with the twelve million or so people that have been in our country for a period of time. And that's where a lot of the discussions are taking place. And I think we can find a rational way forward, somewhere in between automatic citizenship and kicking people out of the country. It's in our interests we do so."
President Bush supports immigration reform that would allow a path to eventual citizenship for some illegal immigrants after certain conditions are met and penalties are levied.
President Bush and President Calderon said in a joint statement that their commitment to advancing democracy, respecting human rights, and promoting free markets, the rule of law, security, sustainable development, and expanding opportunity for all, "will contribute to the consolidation of a prosperous, just, and peaceful future for all citizens in the Americas."