Immigration and leadership: Mexico’s former president, Vicente Fox gives speech at UIW

Fox kicked off UIW’s “Leaders of the Americas” speaker series

SAN ANTONIO – Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Quesada visited the University of the Incarnate Word campus on Wednesday afternoon accompanied by the former first lady of Mexico, Marta Sahagún de Fox, and helped kick off the university’s new speaker series -- “Leaders of the Americas.”

The topic of conversation was immigration, a situation he agrees has not improved since he left office in 2006. According to Fox, Mexicans leave the country in search of better economic opportunities.

“Performance is a key factor of leadership,” Fox said. “It comes from preparing students with purpose, with enlightenment. That’s a great privilege, but it’s a big responsibility. Not everybody can be here in (a) university. In Mexico, 70 percent of the young population don’t have a chance, don’t have an opportunity, to be at a university.”

To help provide opportunities, Fox has accepted a partnership with UIW and his presidential history center, Centro Fox, based in Guanajuato, Mexico.

“The agreement is between the University (of the Incarnate Word) and Centro Fox, which is the first presidential library outside of the United States dedicated to academic programs (and) dedicated to education,” Fox said. “The core of what we teach is leadership. What is unique about this program is that the students that are going to be joining in (come) from the region (of San Cristóbal, Guanajuato, Mexico) from low-income families.”

UIW President Dr. Thomas M. Evans and Fox signed a memorandum Wednesday afternoon to create a stronger pathway for opportunity and education. Fox said leadership and career opportunities go hand in hand with contribution to the economy in Mexico.

“We want to make sure that those who do not have the opportunity of a (higher) education, and specifically on compassionate leadership, will have that opportunity now through this program,” Fox said.

Fox also addressed the current situation regarding migrants at the southern border.

He was asked what the best type of legislation regarding migration to the U.S. would be. Fox said there are three key points to achieving change.

  • When the (U.S.) economy runs at a pace of 3% - 3.5%, you need half a million migrants to come and help you out.”
  • “We need regulation. We need laws to administrate that flow (of migrants). When the economy grows faster, we need to open the valve and get more people from abroad to help us run the economy. Or we close the valve when we are not running at a speed of 3% or more.”
  • “We have to solve the problems of those who are already here. If you have (dreamers) here, give him a chance to (get an education). Give them a chance to go to a university, and the millions (of) dreamers will become an additional strength on the economy of this nation.”

When asked if current Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has done enough to help the people of Mexico, Fox replied, “No, not at all.”

During a moderated Q&A session, Fox shared more thoughts on López Obrador’s leadership.

“He’s a bad guy. He’s a lousy president,” Fox said. “Not because of his dream. That, I think, is 80% right. We don’t want poverty anywhere in the world. But when you have violence, you have to do something about it, especially when you’re Mexico. The president’s first obligation is to bring peace to the communities and to the nation, and you’re not going to bring in peace with the strategy that he’s following. So, he’s wrong, but he’s the president of Mexico, and we have to get rid of him by democratic means. There is no other alternative. Revolutions, violent revolutions, are not the answer anymore.”

Fox’s visit lasted slightly over an hour and concluded with a standing ovation from the crowd.

To learn more about Centro Fox, click here.

About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.