The New York Times
March 12, 1999

          Clinton and Latin Leaders Turn to Immigration

           By JOHN M. BRODER

           ANTIGUA, Guatemala -- President Clinton and a group of Central American leaders declared
           Thursday that they would work among themselves and with the United States to reach
          "humane and permanent solutions" to the problems of illegal immigration.

          The declaration was issued at a one-day meeting here that focused on reconstruction after a
          devastating autumn hurricane, development, trade and immigration.

          The leaders also promised to accelerate efforts to assist one another in the economic and political
          transformation of the region after decades of strife and catastrophic natural disasters.

          The meeting, at the end of a four-day visit by Clinton to the subcontinent, brought together
          Presidents Arnoldo Aleman of Nicaragua, Alvaro Arzu of Guatemala, Armando Calderon Sol of El
          Salvador, Leonel Fernandez Reyna of the Dominican Republic, Carlos Roberto Flores of Honduras
          and Miguel Angel Rodriguez Echeverria of Costa Rica, as well as Prime Minister Said Wilbert Musa
          of Belize.

          They met at the Casa Santo Domingo, a hotel built around the ruins of a church and monastery built
          by Dominicans in the 16th century and largely destroyed by earthquakes in 1717 and 1773. This
          picturesque colonial town, in a valley formed by three volcanoes, was the capital of all of Central
          America until the 18th century.

          At the opening of the session, Clinton noted that he was the first American president to visit
          Guatemala since Lyndon B. Johnson stopped briefly at the Guatemala City airport in the '60s. "This
          visit is long overdue," Clinton said. "More importantly, this moment in history is long overdue."

          The administration announced four small initiatives to foster growth and reconciliation. The
          administration will provide $25 million to bolster the Guatemalan peace accord of 1996, including
          money for schools, small-business development, courts and local governments.

          The administration also plans to grant $25 million for environmental protection throughout the region,
          $11 million for disaster response and $8.2 million to eliminate child labor.

          The meeting was marred by Clinton's inability to deliver a much larger package of hurricane relief,
          totaling $956 million, that has been held up by a dispute with Congress.

          Central American leaders and a few protesters in El Salvador and Guatemala complained that U.S.
          immigration policy discriminated against some political refugees from the region.

          Calderon Sol told Clinton on Wednesday that he did not feel that U.S. policy was justified, because
          refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala did not have the same rights to settle in the United States
          as those from Cuba and Nicaragua.

          The United States is preparing to deport 1,000 Salvadorans who fled the devastation of Hurricane
          Mitch, while Washington seeks a way to let El Salvadoran political refugees remain in the United