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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Uribe explains microchip comment
President Alvaro Uribe
Mr Uribe's alleged remarks have proved controversial
Colombia's president has tried to clarify his comments after a US senator said he had raised the idea of putting microchips in seasonal workers.

Arlen Specter said President Alvaro Uribe had suggested this could help to stem illegal immigration into the US.

After coming under fire for the alleged comments, Mr Uribe said he had spoken about technology as a way of stopping people from overstaying their visas.

The alleged remarks come as the US Senate debates immigration reform.

On Thursday, Mr Specter - who held talks with Mr Uribe in April - read out a report in the US Congress in which he alleged:

"President Uribe said he would consider having Colombian workers have microchips implanted into their bodies before they are permitted to enter the United States to work on a seasonal basis."

Mr Specter said he had been expressing concerns about workers who travelled to the US for temporary farm work and then did not return to their country after their visa had expired.

But in an interview on City TV, Mr Uribe said that in his meeting with US senators he had called for more flexible and less "draconian" immigration laws.

"If the United States, with all its technology, computers and chips, doesn't have the means to know who enters or leaves the country then where are we?," he said.

Asked whether that meant he had mentioned the implantation of microchips, Mr Uribe said he had "nothing else to add".

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