U.S. President Barack Obama praised the vigour of the Mexican economy Friday, as he addressed an audience of students on the last day of his trip to Mexico.
Obama spoke of the country's "impressive progress" and mentioned it as a "global leader" in the production of goods including cars, appliances and technology.
"Mexico has joined the ranks of the world's largest economies," he said at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City.
"Just as Mexico is being transformed, so are the ties between our two countries," he said.
Obama spoke of the need to overcome past prejudice and "distortions" between the two neighbours, and stressed his commitment to stemming the southward flow of guns, which fuels drug violence in Mexico.
He noted, however, that "nothing is inevitable" and that Mexico will need to persevere in its current efforts if it wants to avoid disappointment.
"The future that you dream of is not guaranteed," Obama told his Mexican audience.
"It must be earned."
He acknowledged the importance of the Latino vote to get him re-elected as president, and he stressed his commitment to immigration reform in the United States.
"The immigration system that we have in the United States right now doesn't reflect our values," he said.
"We're a nation of laws but we're also a nation of immigrants."
Obama expressed his hope that "common sense immigration reform" can be passed by Congress this year.
In this context, like he did Thursday in a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Obama highlighted the importance of Mexico's economic growth.
"The long-term solution to the problem of immigration is a growing and prosperous Mexico," he said.
Obama arrived in Mexico on Thursday and he met with Pena Nieto shortly after he landed.
On Friday, he was to travel on to Costa Rica for meetings with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla first and with Central American leaders later. He was scheduled to return to the United States Saturday.
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