A leading Mexican legislator wants to eliminate Mexico's longstanding restrictions on foreigners buying property along the coast and the nation's borders.

For decades, foreigners have had to use real-estate trusts or Mexican front companies to buy beachfront properties, because of a law that prohibits them from directly owning such land.

Congressman Manlio Fabio Beltrones of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party has proposed legislation to allow foreigners to directly buy ocean-front property for residential use. Such proposals have been made before, but not by figures as influential as Beltrones.

A Mexican farmers group decried the proposal Tuesday, saying it would allow foreigners to take the best land and colonize Mexico once again. But others said it is time to acknowledge and legalize the practice, and bring foreign investment into Mexico.