Calderon Urges Changes in U.S. Immigration Policies

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The president of Mexico called on U.S. leaders to enact immigration changes that "fix a broken and inefficient system" and reduces the causes for migration.

During a speech given to a joint session of Congress Thursday, President Felipe Calderon also criticized Arizona's controversial new law that aims to clamp down on illegal immigration along the state's border.

"It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree but also introduced a terrible idea using racial profiling," he said.

President Obama has been lobbying Congress to move on immigration reform. Calderon's visit, which included a formal state dinner at the White House Wednesday night, has highlighted deep divisions within the U.S. over immigration policy.

Mexico's president also pointed his country's easy access to high-powered weapons from the U.S. and American demand for illegal drugs as contributing factors in the cross-border violence.

"We cannot ignore the fact that the challenge to our security has roots on both sides of the border," he said in English. "At the end of the day, it is high demand for drugs in the United States and elsewhere that drives much of the illicit trade."

He urged Congress to restore a ban on assault weapons.

Economically speaking, Calderon said his country is promoting more jobs and opportunities at home, to reduce the flow of immigrants to the United States.

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