A wintry chill has hit relations between the U.S. and Mexico. Just before the holiday break, the U.S. House of Representatives O.K.'d a plan to build 700 miles of high-tech fences along its southern border to keep out illegal migrants. The legislation, which the Senate is due to take up in February, would also make illegal entry into the U.S. a felony.

Mexican President Vicente Fox has called the legislation "disgraceful." And the Mexican Congress is lobbying lawmakers in other Latin American nations, along with those in Spain and Portugal, to oppose the fence. Peru, Honduras, and Guatemala have already signed on. So has Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a move which isn't likely to sway his many critics on Capitol Hill.

Edited by Rose Brady

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