Mexican president visits California

February 13, 2008 6:50:40 PM PST
During his first visit to California since becoming president in Mexico, Felipe Calderon toured the Robledo winery in Sonoma. It's owned by a Mexican immigrant who came to California 40 years ago to pick grapes.

California state leaders warmly greeted Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose first visit to the U.S. is largely aimed at reshaping the immigration debate.

In an address to the joint Senate and Assembly, President Calderon said both sides of the border must think of immigration as a "shared responsibility."

"Our nations will never find prosperity by closing their doors," said President of Mexico Felipe Calderon.

The Mexican President says in his first year in office, he has taken steps to strengthen the border, reformed his country's tax and pension system and attracted a record $23 billion dollars in foreign investment.

"We are taking great efforts to ensure that in the future, no Mexican needs to leave our country to find job opportunities elsewhere," said Calderon.

Still, President Calderon said more cooperation is needed.

"Ensuring a better future for California and Mexico requires making immigration an orderly, humane and safe process, respectful of human rights," said Calderon.

Calderon's message ruffled a few feathers.

"I think it was entirely inappropriate as a head of state to enter our country and enter the political domestic debate," said State Senator Tom McClintock (R) Sherman Oaks.

Outside the Capitol, Mexican-American protesters criticized the President, telling him to go home.

"I came over here when I was 14 years old. Corrupted government, poverty was still there, and it's still there. It hasn't gotten any better," said protester Maria Cristina Ramos.

After his address to California lawmakers, President Calderon privately met with Governor Schwarzenegger to discuss environmental and trade issues. The two signed an agreement to fight climate change.


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