WASHINGTON (AP) -- Less than a week before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, visiting Mexican President Vicente Fox challenged President Bush to reach an immigration agreement by the end of the year.
That proposal, considered unrealistic by U.S. officials at the time, became even more so after Sept. 11 as the administration switched its attention to combating terrorism. Other issues, including immigration overhaul, were relegated to the back burner.
This week, however, high-level talks on immigration-related issues are resuming with Mexico, although under a new order of priorities.
Border security, not surprisingly, is getting more attention than before. Less urgency is being given to such issues as establishing a guest worker program for Mexicans and finding ways to allow many undocumented Mexican aliens to remain in the United States legally if they meet certain requirements.
A session set for Monday afternoon was to involve Bush's director of homeland security, Tom Ridge, and Fox's national security adviser, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser.
With the administration intent on keeping terrorists out of the United States, the 2,000-mile border with Mexico has become an obvious focus. Ridge and Aguilar Zinser planned to discuss ways to make the border more secure.
Susan Neely, Ridge's communications director, had no comment on the meeting except to say it is a good opportunity for an exchange of views.
Tightened measures imposed after Sept. 11 have led to bottlenecks at the border and disrupted the flow of goods and people.
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