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US Immigration will not be discussed at summit

Immigration to the US will not be officially discussed at a meeting of North American leaders despite earlier plans, the Washington Times reports.

US President George Bush, Mexican President Vincente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin will meet in Texas today to discuss expanding free trade and improving anti-terrorist security. However, immigration has been dropped from the agenda amidst serious disagreements between the US and Mexico on this issue .

Mr. Bush's plan for a guest worker program to legitimize the status of millions of illegal immigrants has stalled in the US Congress. And Mr. Fox has angered Conservative Republicans opposed to the scheme by criticizing plans to employ volunteers to repel aliens trying to enter the border into Arizona - it is proposed that 1,000 so-called Minutemen would help patrol the border throughout April.

Mr. Fox has also expressed opposition to the building of an anti-immigrant wall near San Diego, saying that, "no country that is proud of itself should build walls."

According to a study released on March 21, since Mr. Bush took office the illegal immigrant population has risen by 23 percent to 10.3 million. The majority of these people are Mexicans.