Former president of Mexico Vicente Fox called for the walls to come down between Mexico and the United States for a joint effort to boost both nations' economies.
The politician, businessman and ranchero spoke to a packed room of engineers during the American Council of Engineering Companies fall conference Thursday at the La Quinta Resort & Club. This is the first time the group has hosted a conference in the Coachella Valley.
There, Fox discussed his views on immigration and the economy, and what he sees as a need for a stronger partnership with the U.S. to deal with those pressing issues.
“Each one of our economies has its own resources, it has its own strength and what we have to do is join in on that,” Fox said. “So we can compete with (Asia) and protect our jobs in both the United States and Mexico.”
In an exclusive interview with The Desert Sun, Fox urged the U.S. to view legal immigrants as more of an asset to the nation's economy, not a hindrance.
“They should be assimilated, integrated to the culture of this nation because sooner or later — more sooner than later — this nation is going to be led by minorities,” Fox said. “This nation should better prepare them and educate them because they will be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Among the most important tools to achieve economic success for both countries, Fox said, is the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Launched in 1994, NAFTA removed most barriers to trade and investment between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Now, Fox said it needs to be “re-energized” because “the battle is being lost in this region of the world.”
“I think that at this moment, NAFTA is dormant,” he said. “Not many people are paying attention to this great instrument created to associate our three economies.”
Fox continued to say that though he is not in favor of open borders, he does believe walls shouldn't be “between two friends, two neighbors, two partners.”
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