MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government objected on Tuesday to an immigration bill that appears headed for approval in the U.S. Senate, saying the initiative's heavy focus on border security is not consistent with the relationship between the two countries.
Foreign Relations Secretary Jose Meade said that instead of expanding a border fence, as proposed in the bill, the United States should modernize border bridges to expedite commerce.
"Fences do not unite," Meade said while reading a statement to reporters during a news conference where he didn't take questions
"Fences are not the solution to migration and are not consistent with a modern and secure border," he added. "They do not contribute to the regional development both countries seek to propel."
It was the first time the Mexican government had addressed the U.S. immigration bill.
The U.S. Senate could have a final vote Thursday or Friday on the bill, which could offer a chance at citizenship for millions living in the country illegally while also calling for beefing up border security.
It would then go to the House, where conservative Republicans in the majority oppose citizenship for anyone living in the country illegally.
The measure includes adding 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents, doubling their number along the border with Mexico, and completing 700 miles of fencing.
Meade acknowledged the bill might benefit several million Mexican migrants living in the United States, but said measures "that could affect ties between communities move away from the principles of shared responsibility and neighborliness."