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Mexico concerned about U.S. bid to beef up border security

U.S. Border Patrol surveys the border fence near rancher John Ladd's property adjacent to the Arizona-Mexico border near Naco, Arizona, Marc
U.S. Border Patrol surveys the border fence near rancher John Ladd's property adjacent to the Arizona-Mexico border near Naco, Arizona, Marc

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican government on Tuesday voiced concern about U.S. congressional proposals to beef up security along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying it was divisive and would not solve the problem of illegal immigration.

Immigration plays a significant part in the countries' bilateral relations. Millions of Mexicans live and work on the U.S. side of the border and tens try to enter the United States annually, often at peril to their lives.

"Our country has let the United States government know that measures which affect links between communities depart from the principles of shared responsibility and good neighborliness," Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade said in a televised statement.

"We're convinced that fences do not unite, fences are not the solution to the migration phenomenon and are not in line with a modern, safe border."

On Monday, a border security amendment seen as crucial to the fate of an immigration bill backed by President Barack Obama cleared a key procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate, helping pave the way for the biggest changes to U.S. immigration law since 1986.

The amendment would double the number of agents on the southern border to about 40,000 over the next 10 years and provide more high-tech surveillance equipment to stop illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border. The amendment also calls for finishing construction of 700 miles of border fence.

The bill would also grant legal status to millions of undocumented foreigners, who would be put on a 13-year path to citizenship.

(Reporting by Rodolfo Pena and Liz Diaz; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

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