MEXICO CITY – Mexico condemned the recent approval of a law in Arizona criminalizing undocumented immigrants and warned that the new regulation “represents an obstacle to the solution of the common problems of the border region and in North America as a whole.”
“The Mexican government will use all available means in supporting its citizens,” President Felipe Calderon’s administration said in a statement released by the Office of the President on Saturday, a day after the measure was signed into law by Arizona’s governor.
“The Presidency of the Republic reiterates its absolute commitment to the protection of the human rights and dignity of all Mexicans abroad,” independent of their immigration situation,” the statement said.
Mexico, via the Foreign Relations Secretariat, criticized the approval Friday of the law making it a crime to be an illegal immigrant in Arizona and announced that it will consider the relationship it maintains with that state.
“The law ... affects the relationship between Arizona and Mexico and forces the Mexican government to consider the viability and usefulness of the ways of cooperating that have been developed with Arizona,” Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa said.
The law is another tool to deal with a problem that Washington has refused to resolve, Republican Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer said.
The law permits police in Arizona to detain anybody if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that he/she might be an illegal immigrant, an ability that many critics of the law say smoothes the way for racial profiling.
The law, which is to take effect 90 days after Arizona’s current legislative session ends, also establishes penalties against those who hire illegal immigrants or facilitate their living in the state.
Arizona has been one of the main entry points for illegal immigrants ever since a wall was constructed along the border in California more than two decades ago.
Border crossers in Arizona must contend not only with increased police vigilance but also with the dangers of the desert.