Mexican President Felipe Calderón, speaking at the US Congress during a visit to Washington May 20, urged legislators to reinstate an assault-weapon ban, saying violence in Mexico escalated when the ban expired six years ago. “There is one area where Mexico needs your help, that is stopping the flow of assault weapons and other deadly weapons across the border,” Calderón said. “Let us work together to end this lethal trade that threatens Mexico and your own people.” (Bloomberg, May 20)
Calderón also made the requisite criticisms of the new Arizona immigration law, for which he was of course slapped by Fox News, in a piece entitled “Calderon [sic] Criticism of Arizona Law Overlooks Mexico’s Tough Immigration Policy” (Fox seems to be allergic to accent marks):
Mexico repeatedly has been cited by human rights groups for abusing or turning a blind eye to the abuse of migrants from Central America. Until recently, Mexican law made illegal immigration a criminal offense—anyone arrested for the violation could be fined, imprisoned for up to two years and deported. Mexican lawmakers changed that in 2008 to make illegal immigration a civil violation like it is in the United States, but their law still reads an awful lot like Arizona’s.
Arizona’s policy, which Calderon derided on Wednesday as “discriminatory” and assailed again on Thursday, requires law enforcement to try to determine the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant — provided they are already in contact with that person. They can’t randomly stop people and demand papers and the law prohibits racial profiling.
The Mexican law also states that law enforcement officials are “required to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country before attending to any issues.”
It is true that Calderón is grandstanding on this issue for domestic consumption in Mexico—much as Fox is for domestic consumption in the US. What Fox “overlooks” is that Mexico has taken hardline immigration measures in response to US pressure, through such programs as the Security and Prosperity Partnership. Enough hypocrisy to go around, as usual.
See our last posts on Mexico’s narco wars.