Venezuela's Chavez calls U.S. immigration measures 'fascism'
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sharply criticized bills in the U.S. Congress that seek to crack down on illegal immigration, saying they resemble fascism.
Chavez made the remark in a televised speech Friday, while thousands of students marched in California, Texas, Nevada and other U.S. states to protest the immigration bills.
The Venezuelan leader asked how U.S. President George W. Bush could justify supporting a "horrific" immigration law "against millions of human beings."
"It looks like fascism," Chavez said. He did not elaborate, but critics in the United States have taken strong issue with House legislation that would make illegal immigration a felony and expand walls along the Mexico-U.S border.
"It's not just the law but also that now they're building a wall ... so that we Latin Americans don't cross," Chavez said. "Look at the behavior of the American empire."
Many Mexicans, however, have praised a proposal approved this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee that would legalize more than 1 million undocumented migrant agricultural workers and provide temporary work visas.
Chavez, a constant critic of Bush, said he is sure the 21st century will mark "the end of American imperialism."
Chavez, a close ally of Cuba's Fidel Castro, says he is leading Venezuela toward socialism. The United States, meanwhile, remains the top buyer of Venezuelan oil.
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