Mexican president 'indignant' at U.S. deportations

MEXICO CITY Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:34pm EST

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto gives a speech during a news conference, next to U.S. President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (both not pictured), at the North American Leaders' Summit in Toluca near Mexico City, February 19, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto gives a speech during a news conference, next to U.S. President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (both not pictured), at the North American Leaders' Summit in Toluca near Mexico City, February 19, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he is "indignant" at the United States' deportation of Mexican migrants and described U.S. lawmakers as demonstrating a "lack of conscience" in failing to pass immigration reform.

In a television interview aired late on Wednesday Pena Nieto said he and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the issue during their meeting at a North American leaders' summit held last week in Mexico.

His emboldened comments to U.S. Spanish language channel Univision followed days after his administration announced it had captured Mexico's most wanted man, drug lord Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.

Pena Nieto has said any extradition of Guzman to the United States is likely to take time, underscoring the fact the drug lord still has outstanding time to serve in Mexico after a daring 2001 jail break, reportedly in a laundry cart.

"Yes it makes me indignant, and it makes Mexicans indignant," Pena Nieto said in the interview, when asked whether deportations angered him.

"There's a lack of conscience, something which shouldn't only alert and worry Mexicans, it should also worry the American government and they should take up the issue," said Pena Nieto.

Pena Nieto added that he sees a willingness on the part of the Obama administration to change immigration laws, and that reform which provides a path to citizenship should "have the backing and aid of the various political forces" in the United States.

A bill that would have provided ways for the approximately 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally to obtain citizenship recently stalled in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

Many opponents of comprehensive immigration reform in the United States argue that Obama's position would reward lawbreakers and deportations are warranted since the immigrants entered the country illegally.

Under Obama, deportations have hit record highs.

Mexican government officials last week criticized the U.S. Border Patrol for the use of deadly force in a confrontation in which a Mexican migrant was killed.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot the man near San Diego after being pelted with rocks while trying to apprehend a group of suspected illegal border crossers.

(This story was corrected to fix in third sentence to show Univision is U.S. Spanish language channel, not a Mexican channel)

(Editing by Simon Gardner and Andrew Hay)