Call issued for regional security body

March 14, 2005 at 10:05 AM

WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- Former government officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada Monday called for a regional community to meet security and economic challenges.

The three were former Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance John Manley, former Mexican Finance Minister Pedro and former Massachusetts Gov. and Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weld.

They said North American economic and security community should be in place by 2010 and would include shared external trade tariffs and common border monitoring procedures and methods, including a biometric border pass for citizens that would allow expedited passage through customs and immigration checkpoints.

The trio also called for narrowing of the trade and investment gap between the United States and Canada and Mexico, where low wages and lack of economic opportunity has fueled illegal immigration.

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