Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Monday committed himself to continue "fighting" for the rights of citizens of his country and Central America in the United States after affirming that he has relatives living north of the border.

"It is calculated that in the United States there are almost 12 million Mexicans. That is, women and men born here, in the national territory, who left in search of better development opportunities," said Calderon at the inauguration of National Immigration Week 2011 in Mexico City.

The president sent a greeting to all Mexicans "who are getting by in the United States."

He also made a commitment to continue "fighting, working closely, with Mexican (and) Central American immigrants in the United States, so that their rights are respected and so that there may be a comprehensive, sensible ... solution to the immigration problem."

Mexico is a "sending, passage and destination (nation) for immigrants," Calderon said.

There are many immigrants in the United States about whom "perhaps their relatives don't know anything," and "others who, for different reasons, and given their condition, cannot return to Mexico to see their relatives," he said.

He said that most Mexicans have "a relative in the United States in those circumstances."

"I have first cousins in the United States who are in these circumstances. Margarita (Zavala, Calderon's wife) has a brother, whom we love a lot and whom we haven't been able to see for almost 11 years," he acknowledged.

The problem of immigration, he said, "cannot simply be vetoed by decree" because "it's a natural phenomenon for the human being" but also a "social and economic phenomenon."