An outspoken critic of US immigration policy spoke in Tulsa on Tuesday. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox visited as part of the Tulsa Business Forums, sponsored by Oklahoma State University. The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports the former president was met by some home-grown protesters.
Vicente Fox was here to talk trade. But, the conversation was quickly pulled from the flow of goods to the flood of illegal immigrants. Fox swung through the Sooner State on his international trip on trade; pushing cooperation between the US and Mexico on the economy and critiquing the US's policy on immigration.
"Right now the debate here in the United States is misleading and misinformed," said former Mexican President Vicente Fox.
Fox led Mexico from 2000 to 2006 and enjoyed a close relationship with President George Bush. The former Mexican leader calls Mexican workers an asset to the US economy. Fox said Mexican workers are a needed asset to stem the tide of a rising giant.
"We are all three, Canada, US, and Mexico, losing jobs to China. The only way that we can compete with that is by associating and working together," said Fox.
While the former Mexican president was speaking inside the Mabee Center, just across the street protesters sent a very different message.
"Vicente Fox is not a friend of America. He's one of the reasons that this immigration has gotten so out of hand," said Tim Cravens with the Outraged Patriots.
In the shadow of Fox's picture, protesters called Fox's ideas and policies an attack on the American way of life.
"We believe in the philosophy that neighbors with good fences make better neighbors. And they're here to eliminate our borders to eliminate the freedom that we share in America and the sovereignty of America," said Dr. Mike Ritze with the Tulsa Minuteman Project.
"Let me make myself very clear. I am not for open borders. I am not for illegality. But, I am for a strong relationship between our two economies and our two nations," said Fox.
While the groups come at the immigration issues from different sides of the debate and the border, they agree on one thing: the federal government needs to act.
"My invitation to Congress, to US government, to the United States is to face the issue and reach that solution," said Fox.
Vicente Fox was also touting the success of the North American Free Trade Agreement and pushing for its expansion. The protesters also took aim at that, calling NAFTA bad for business here at home.