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No barriers can stop immigration: Mexican President at UN migration summit

Trump has vowed to crackdown on illegal immigration & said that Mexico would pay for construction of a "great border wall" between the two countries. Photograph: (AFP)

WION United Nations, New York, NY, United States Sep 19, 2016, 09.34 PM (IST)
With many countries across the world worrying that migration is running out of control, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto took an opposing stand. 

In an address at the United Nations summit on migrants and refugees on Monday, Pena Nieto said the history has proven that efforts to stop immigration and the mix of cultures are bound to fail.

"History shows that there are no barriers that can stop either the movement of people or the fusion of cultures," he said.

Pena Nieto's popularity took a hit in his country for hosting Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump on August 31. 

Trump's tirade against immigrants and his vows to build a border wall with Mexico has become an issue in both the countries. 

Pena Nieto asserted, "Neither natural nor artificial barriers hold sway. For every river there has always been a bridge. For every obstacle there has always been a way forward. Movement is an essential part of human existence."

Trump has infuriated Mexicans with a series of verbal attacks against the United States' southern neighbor.

"We are a proudly mestizo, multi-cultural and diverse nation," Pena Nieto said, referring to Mexican of mixed descent.

"We Mexicans firmly believe that this mestizo fusion is the future and destiny of human kind."

At the summit, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development urged Western governments to help newcomers integrate faster to tackle the growing anti-migrant backlash. 

It presented a report to the UN saying the newcomers included a record 1.65 million registered new asylum seekers, nearly 1.3 million of them in Europe.

"The public is losing faith in the capacity of governments to manage migration," the OECD's International Migration Outlook report warned.

Citizens of host countries worry that public services are overstretched, that immigration only benefits the rich and that migrants do not want to integrate, the OECD's director for employment, labour and social affairs, Stefano Scarpetta said.

This includes recognising that large numbers of low-skilled migrants arriving in an area could damage the job prospects of low-skilled locals.

"The big task, the big challenge now is integration," OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said at the launch of the report in Paris.

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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