Former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Tuesday kicked off his multiday visit to Denver this week by praising the city’s efforts to protect immigrants living in the U.S. illegally and blasting President Donald Trump over his proposed border wall and views on NAFTA.
“I believe this city is showing the rest of the United States and the rest of the world that you … do the very best for the people that live in your city, that work in your city — for the people that contribute to the growth of this city,” Fox said.
Fox, a vocal critic of Trump, is in town for a Global Chamber Denver forum focusing on ways to improve and grow the U.S.-Mexico economic relationship. He is slated to spend time with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper during his stay, which spans into Thursday.
Fox’s visit also comes on the heels of a Denver City Council ordinance passed Monday night instructing city employees not to ask people about their immigration status or to share it with federal officials. The initiative also bars Denver’s jails from allowing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents access to secure areas for inmate interviews without a judicial warrant and generally from working with federal immigration officers.
Fox, who was in office from 2000-06, said the ordinance was “great news,” the right thing to do and that it simply follows the rule of law.
Speaking to reporters about Trump’s proposed border wall, Fox used an expletive and called the U.S. president’s efforts misguided.
“It’s criminal to separate families,” Fox said of the Trump administration’s crackdown on unlawful immigration.
Surely to be one of the main topics of Fox’s time in Denver is the North American Free Trade Agreement, the pact involving the U.S., Mexico and Canada that Trump has said he might dismantle. The former Mexican president said doing so would be painful not only for Canada and his country, but also the U.S.
Fox noted the millions of U.S. jobs that are dependent on trade with Mexico and that prices for everything from cars to food could rise sharply should the North American Free Trade Agreement go away. He also said that the U.S. could lose its global leadership if NAFTA goes away.
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“The U.S. economy will lose competitiveness,” he said. “China is eager to fill up the space. Russia is eager to fill up the space.”