Calder贸n scolds US on guns, immigration; Fox News slaps back

Mexican President Felipe Calder贸n, 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,” Calder贸n said. “Let us work together to end this lethal trade that threatens Mexico and your own people.” (Bloomberg, May 20)

Calder贸n 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鈥攁nyone 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 Calder贸n is grandstanding on this issue for domestic consumption in Mexico鈥攎uch 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.

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  1. Now isn’t that something.
    Now isn’t that something. Mexico (Calderon) has been throwing a hissy fit because he is afraid someone might use racial profiling, even though the Arizona law specifically prohibits it. On the other hand Mexican law specifically requires racial profiling: The Mexican law states that law enforcement officials are “required to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country before attending to any issues.”

    1. “Prohibits racial profiling” my eye
      From the NY Daily News, May 18:

      Cops: Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law mandates ‘racial profiling’
      As politicians and pundits debate Arizona’s controversial anti-illegal immigration law, police in the state are caught in the middle – and exchanging fire.

      Two police officers are challenging the law in court, fearing the bill will ultimately force cops to racially profile Hispanics.

      “Before the signing of this bill, citizens would wave at me,” said David Salgado, a 19-year Phoenix police officer who has sued the city and the governor, asking that the law be blocked, according to the Associated Press. “Now they don’t even want to make eye contact.”

      Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris, a critic of the law, told AP: “When you get a law that leads a state down this path, where the enforcement is targeted to a particular segment of the population, it’s very difficult not to profile.”

  2. 50,000 protest Arizona anti-immigration law
    An estimated 50,000 people showed up on May 29 for the National Day of Action against SB-1070 in Phoenix, Ariz. Speakers included AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. The rally took place just days after the Border Patrol headquarters in Tucson was occupied by protesters. (Immigration Clearing House, June 1; Censored News, May 21)

  3. Tucson joins Arizona immigration lawsuit
    The city of Tucson has joined a lawsuit against the the state’s new immigration law, a court filing revealed June 1. Tucson was originally named as a defendant along with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in the federal lawsuit filed in April by Tucson police officer Martin Escobar. However, the city responded by filing a cross-claim against Brewer seeking an injunction to prevent enforcement of the law, which is set to go into effect July 29. The city argues that the law violates the Commerce Clause and Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. (Jurist, June 2)

  4. ABA files brief against Arizona immigration law
    The American Bar Association (ABA) on June 30 filed an amicus curiae brief urging the federal district court in Arizona to block the enforcement of the state’s controversial immigration law. The brief was filed in support of a class-action lawsuit led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona legislation. According to the brief, “the ABA has long opposed initiatives such as S.B. 1070, which, by their plain language, can only be implemented by intruding on the civil rights of both citizens and non-citizens.” The ABA argues that the federal government should have exclusive power [press release] over immigration issues. In addition, the brief, which was filed in the US District Court for the District of Arizona, states that the law will increase the use of racial profiling, result in unlawful and unreasonable detentions and increase the burden on the state’s indigent defense system. The ABA usually waits until a case reaches the appellate level to file an amicus curiae brief, but ABA president Carolyn Lamm said this case requires “extraordinary action.” The law is set to go into effect in January 2011.

    Last week, the Mexican government filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the ACLU suit, claiming a substantial interest in ensuring its “bilateral diplomatic relations” with the US remain “transparent, consistent and reliable, and not frustrated by the actions of individual US states.” The government also claims an interest in ensuring that its citizens are “accorded human and civil rights when present in the US in accordance with federal immigration law.” Arizona’s new immigration law has been widely criticized in regard to the law’s constitutionality and alleged “legalization” of racial profiling, since it was signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in April. In addition to the class action filed by the ACLU, Brewer is also currently facing federal lawsuits filed by the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) and several Tuscon police officers, who claim they can not properly implement the law without racially profiling. The Obama administration, though supporting immigration reform, has sharply criticized the law, calling it “misguided” and expressing concern that it could be applied in a discriminatory fashion. (Jurist, July 1)