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Biden slams Trump's 'dangerous' anti-Mexico rhetoric
[MEXICO CITY] US Vice-President Joe Biden took a thinly-veiled swipe at Donald Trump on Thursday, decrying during a visit to Mexico the Republican White House hopeful's "dangerous" rhetoric against the neighbouring country.
Addressing Mexico's foreign and finance ministers and other government officials, Mr Biden said the message expressed about Mexicans and Mexico in the US election campaign is "disturbing," but that this episode of "xenophobia" will pass.
"Some of the rhetoric coming from some presidential candidates of the other team are I think dangerous, damaging and incredibly ill-advised," Mr Biden said.
"But here's what I'm here to tell you: They do not, they do not, they do not represent the view of the vast majority of the American people," he said.
"This too shall pass.... We have gone through these episodes of xenophobia but they have always been overcome."
Mr Trump has angered Mexico from the start of his candidacy by declaring that the country was sending rapists across the border and that he would force the neighbouring government to pay for a giant wall to keep illegal migrants out.
The Republican front-runner has also clashed with Pope Francis over the immigration issue after the pontiff said that anyone who "only wants to build walls and not bridges is not a Christian."
Mr Trump initially said Pope Francis's comments were "disgraceful" but he later softened his tone, saying he had a "lot of respect" for the first Latin American pope.
At the end of Mr Biden's speech at the high-level US-Mexico economic dialogue, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray praised his "inspirational" words while Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said the two nations share values "to make this region the most productive and prosperous in the world."
Immigration is a hot-button issue in the US presidential race, which features two Republican candidates who are sons of Cuban immigrants: senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
But both senators, who are Mr Trump's closest competitors, have taken a hard stance on the issue.
While Mr Rubio backed immigration reform in 2013, he has since hardened his position and now competes with Mr Cruz for support from conservatives demanding more deportations for the 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States.