PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico (AP) Mayors from Mexican and U.S. border cities Friday denounced U.S. plans to build a border fence aimed at preventing Mexican from illegally entering the United States.
The mayors of Eagle Pass, Texas, and Ciudad Acuna and Piedras Negras, both in the Mexican state of Coahuila, signed a document declaring the U.S.-Mexico border an area for union and solidarity, not division.
``From El Paso to Brownsville, Texas, we're against building the wall. ... That's why we're here today to support our neighbors,'' Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster said.
Piedras Negras Mayor Jesus Flores said border communities face many challenges that must be confronted by governments on both sides of the border.
``We can only overcome our shared problems by using the cooperation links that have been established by our communities,'' Flores said. ``It is with our neighbors in Eagle Pass and Del Rio that we share our origins and families. ... We can't be separated. A wall is something that goes against all human dignity.''
President Bush signed a law last month to erect fencing along the border to secure it against illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and terrorists. Republicans in Congress see it as their most significant accomplishment on immigration. The president called it ``an important step in our nation's efforts to secure our borders.''
However, the measure has been roundly criticized in Mexico by President Vicente Fox and other political leaders.
California's Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday at the end of a two-day trade visit to Mexico that the planned fence is ``an incomplete way'' of solving illegal immigration and said both California and Mexico would benefit from legalizing workers.
Schwarzenegger spoke in Mexico City as he met with President-elect Felipe Calderon, who called the fence ``deplorable.''
At the document signing ceremony, a crowd of more than 2,000 people who gathered at a plaza in Piedras Negras to welcome Ciudad Acuna Mayor Evaristo Perez and those who accompanied him on a three-day, 55-mile march from Ciudad Acuna, across from Del Rio, Texas, to protest the planned fence.
``Today, we're calling on those men and women in power in the United States to reflect on the consequences of this disgraceful plan not only for the people of the border but also for humanity,'' the document said.