Piñata Politics

George Bush's immigration policy is a big piñata hanging across the border between Mexico and the United States. Some immigrants believe it's shaped like a star to guide them across the Rio Grande to work in the promised land, others think it resembles a devil, offering the tantalizing prospect of legal jobs in the US, only to discover that this is a mirage.

Many are thankful that the piñata is available to liven up bilateral relations and can't wait to give it a good whack. But if Mexico's President Vicente Fox is to benefit from his turn hitting the piñata, he will need to take off the blindfold he wears in public where President Bush is concerned.

Fox has every right to celebrate the recent initiative announced by President Bush to assist some currently illegal immigrants to the US come out of the shadow economy, and he should congratulate himself for pressing Bush to make this effort. It was his constant prodding that helped design and fill the piñata.

But Fox needs to move quickly from self-congratulation to action, because Mexico needs a more fulfilling relationship with America than the scanty prizes that are now dropping from Bush's piñata. He will have time to do so, because no new proposal is likely to be launched in a US presidential election year.