MEXICO CITY - Mexico warned Thursday that the U.S. proposal to build miles of border fence will damage relations between the two countries. The Foreign Relations Department said it was "deeply worried" about the proposal, which is working its way through the Senate, adding it will "increase tension in border communities."
"These measures will harm the bilateral relationship. They are against the spirit of co-operation that is needed to guarantee security on the common border," the department said in a statement.
The House of Representatives and Senate are maneuvering to speed construction of a 700-mile fence along the United States' southern border aimed at keeping migrants and criminals from entering the country illegally.
A House-Senate homeland security funding bill containing $1.2 billion to begin building the fence could be passed and sent to President Bush before lawmakers depart Washington this weekend.
Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said that only a comprehensive immigration reform would stop millions of Mexicans sneaking across its northern desert and swimming over the Rio Grande into the United States.
"A partial measure that is exclusively focused on security does not deal with reality and represents a political answer rather than a viable solution," it said in the statement.
President Vicente Fox has rallied against the wall, calling it "shameful" and comparing it to the Berlin Wall, which divided Germany.
President-elect Felipe Calderon, who takes over from Fox on Dec.1, has also spoken out against the measure.
There are an estimated 11 million Mexicans in the United States, about half of whom are illegal. Last year, Mexican migrants sent home more than $20 billion in remittances, providing Mexico with its second biggest source of foreign income after oil.