President Showcases U.S. Efforts To Fight Poverty In Tour Of Guatemala Villages

Monday, March 12th 2007, 5:36 am
By: News On 6

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (AP) _ President Bush's message of goodwill in Latin American ran into a wall in Guatemala on Monday, as his defense of U.S. immigration law met with disapproval from his hosts.

Bush's meetings here with President Oscar Berger, a conservative leader who has become a strong U.S. ally, were dominated by trade and the difficult issue of immigration policy.

Bush pleased Guatemalans by promising to push hard, and quickly, for changes that would include a temporary-worker program for illegal workers in the United States. He said he thinks it is possible to wrest legislation out of the U.S. Congress, still deeply divided over the issue, by August.

But he gave no ground in the face of questions over deportations of illegal workers, such as a raid in Massachusetts last week. Federal authorities detained over 300 employees of a leather goods maker _ most from Guatemala and El Salvador _ for possible deportation as illegal aliens. The raid left dozens of young children stranded at schools and with baby sitters.

``The United States will enforce our law,'' Bush said. ``It's against the law to hire somebody who's in our country illegally.''

Responded Berger: ``The Guatemalan people would have preferred a more clear and positive response _ no more deportations.''