In a wide ranging interview, the president also acknowledges Mexico's enormous income disparity
In Mexico City's National Palace this week, president Enrique Peña Nieto called the militarization of the border with Texas National Guard troops "not only unpleasant, but condemnable."
"It's a completely unacceptable policy that will not promote friendship and cordiality between our nations," Peña Nieto told journalist Jacob Zabludovsky.
"And that's particularly true when we see that many other American states have changed their policies towards the Latin migrant population," added the 47 year old president.
"Recently I was in California. It has the eight largest economy in the world. There is a very significant Mexican demographic there which is contributing heavily to the state's economic development, due to much more enlightened policies," said Peña Nieto.
"Most migrants crossing our national territory, especially unaccompanied children, are coming from Central America. We are trying to address their needs and return them to their homes. But those who make it to the border should be treated with dignity. Dealing with them through the use of National Guard troops should not be part of the process," said Peña Nieto, who accused Texas governor Rick Perry of adopting an "isolated" militaristic strategy inconsistent with the federal government's and the majority of American states.
Other comments by the president, translated and edited for clarity:
"We have to recognize that 45% of our population lives in poverty. I believe the best way to fight poverty and root it out is by growing our economy. That is one of the purposes of the structural reforms we have undertaken.
"It's not enough that those in poverty have access just to the basics. The wealth of the Mexican state must be better shared and distributed. That's why we're focused on policies which will provide greater educational opportunity for all, through scholarships, for example. We also want to enable our citizens to save something for the future, and to better prepare themselves for retirement."
"The results we have seen (since Dec. 1, 2012) are impressive. Without a doubt, there is much less violence today than we were facing two years ago.
"There has been some increase in kidnappings, but due to a comprehensive program we adopted earlier this year, we expect those numbers to go down (Mexican Senate passes kidnapping penalty of 140 years).
"The work is far from over. We have a lot left to do. But in the first eight months of this year, we have seen a 28% drop in the murder rate. That's a good indication of the success of our new coordinated federal-state approach towards crime."
Aug. 25 - Mexican press: homicides under Enrique Peña Nieto far exceed those of his predecessor
May 2 - Jalisco wage earners average $15 per day
Jan. 7 - Texas Gov. Rick Perry denies Mexico's appeal for death stay in Édgar Tamayo case
Dec. 20 - Mexican minimum wage in 2014 will be $5 dollars - a day
Oct. 12 - In a land where many are poor, Mexican millionaires are increasing by leaps and bounds
July 29 - 53.3 million - that's how many Mexicans live in poverty
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