( dpa ) - Mexican president Felipe Calderon called for a return to the bracero programme of the 1950s as a way to address issues of immigration and illegal workers between the US and Mexico.
Calderon made the statements in an address to the California legislature, where he said that immigration "carries off the best among us" and vowed to create economic conditions that would allow Mexicans to find well-paid work at home.
"While my government is committed to protecting the rights of all Mexicans, including those living beyond our borders, we are taking great efforts to ensure that in the future no Mexican needs to leave our country to find job opportunities elsewhere," he said.
Calderon reminded legislators that Mexico is the top destination for California exports, and he recalled the bracero programme from the 1940s-60s as a system that met both countries' needs.
"We need to make migration legal, safe and organized," said Calderon, who met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The two signed an agreement to jointly fight climate change and discussed boosting trade, improving infrastructure and combating drug trafficking.