Bush Plan Provokes Mexico's Ire

Mexicans reacted angrily to President George Bush's May 15 announcement that he would dispatch 6,000 National Guard troops to the southwest border, calling it an unfriendly gesture aimed more at shoring up the American leader's flagging popularity than at offering a real solution to the problem of illegal immigration (see BW Online, 05/16/06, "Huddled Masses, Tricky Politics"). In addition to aggravating anti-American sentiment in Mexico, a U.S. military presence along the 2,000-mile-long border could damage economic relations between the two countries and may affect the outcome of Mexico's July 2 presidential elections. "This will inflame a lot of anti-American feelings in Mexico," says Rafael Fernández de Castro, dean of the international affairs faculty at ITAM, a leading university in Mexico City.

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