President Bush has assured his Mexican counterpart he will do all he can to push immigration reform through a U.S. Congress that is deeply divided over the issue.
Mr. Bush made the vow to Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Tuesday as they began two days of meetings in the Mexican town of Merida, on the Yucatan peninsula.
In a speech before their meeting, Mr. Calderon noted that the United States is rich in capital and Mexico is rich in labor. He said this has led many Mexicans to go to the United States for work, while leaving some Mexican towns nearly deserted.
The U.S. president wants immigration reform along with tighter border controls. But Mr. Calderon has emphasized that both countries need to improve Mexico's economy, to lessen Mexicans' desires to seek work in the United States.
Relations with Mexico have cooled since Mr. Bush signed a law calling for the construction of 11-hundred kilometers of new fencing along the border. Mr. Calderon said in his speech that migration can not be stopped with a fence.
Port security and trade also are on the agenda for their talks.
Mr. Bush's tour of Latin America also has taken him to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, and Guatemala before his final stop in Mexico. Immigration has been one of the most prominent issues discussed during his travels.