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Fox: ‘Leaders commit’ to solving issues such as immigration reform

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PEORIA – “Leaders commit” to resolving issues such as reforming U.S. immigration policy, former Mexican President Vicente Fox said Thursday.

“Migration is a key strategic positive asset to all nations,” he said. “It nourishes the capacity and the energy and the dynamism of a nation.”

Meeting at City Hall on regional trade and economic cooperation, Fox said during a news conference that the U.S. must establish a “D-Day” to act on immigration reform.

“The real sophisticated part of a leader, it’s not just discussing things, it’s not just planning,” he said. “It’s making things happen.”

Fox, who served as Mexico’s president from 2000-2006, also said he’s become a “total advocate” for legalizing drugs.

It would be better, he said, to have the drug trade regulated so that the billions of dollars currently in the hands of criminal cartels would go instead to businesses and the government.

“Our kids will not go crazy or crazier because it’s legal,” he said. “They have the same access today by it being illegal. It would be much better to legalize.”

Fox said Mexico is caught in between the U.S. and drug-producing countries in South America, losing young people to drug violence because they lack other opportunities.

“We lost 80,000 lives – kids, 15, 25 years old, that were not born criminals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fox said the U.S. and Mexico must recommit to the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 because the fast-growing economies of China, India and other Asian nations are taking away jobs.

“The threat is there, and what we need is to understand, review the facts and the basic foundations on which we had the vision to put NAFTA together,” he said. “If we review that, we will see a whole lot of new opportunities. If we keep on that process, it will bring quality of life to our communities.”

Fox said there’s no time to wait.

“Let’s accelerate,” he said. “Because the East is accelerating, and we need to move fast.”