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Mexico Reacts to Arizona Immigration Law

April 27, 2010

If Roles Were Reversed? U.S. Citizens Would be Arrested for Protesting in Mexico

As you’ve probably heard, Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill on April 23, 2010 that gives state police the authority to question whether an individual is in the United States legally and would consider it a crime for people to be unlawfully in the state. She said she was forced to act because Washington has failed to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs from Mexico.  Under the new law, people without proper documentation could be arrested and face jail time of up to six months and a fine of $2,500.00.

Voice of America’s, VOANews.com reports today that Mexico has issued a travel alert for it’s citizens traveling to Arizona.  In a statement, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it urges Mexicans to “act with prudence and with respect to the local legal framework.”  The statement goes on to say that once the law takes effect, every Mexican citizen may be harassed and questioned without further cause at any time.

This brings up a valid question.  Specifically, what laws does Mexico have in place to deal with foreigners within its borders?  According to the San Bernadino Sun, Mexico’s constitution and its General Population Act – its main law addressing immigration – include provisions that make it a felony to be an illegal immigrant and allow for local police to aid immigration authorities in making arrests.

Specific provisions state that:

  • Under Article 123 of the General Population Act, illegal immigration is an offense punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to 5,000 pesos, or about $450. Typically, any crime with a punishment of a year or more is considered a felony.
  • Article 118 of the act says foreigners who are deported and then later attempt to re-enter the country without authorization can be punished with up to 10 years in prison.
  • Under Article 73, local police must cooperate with federal immigration authorities when asked to help enforce the nation’s immigration laws.
  • As set forth in several articles of the act, immigrants are admitted into Mexico according to their potential to “contribute to the national progress” and must have the income needed to support themselves.
  • Article 9 of the constitution says only citizens may assemble to “take part in the political affairs of the country.” Under Article 33, noncitizens “may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.”
  • The U.S. State Department has recently issued its own travel advisory for American citizens traveling to Mexico.  The most recent travel warning, dated April 12, 2010 states that:

    “U.S. citizens traveling throughout Mexico should exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Bystanders have been injured or killed in violent attacks in cities across the country, demonstrating the heightened risk of violence in public places. In recent years, dozens of U.S. citizens living in Mexico have been kidnapped and most of their cases remain unsolved. U.S. citizens who believe they are being targeted for kidnapping or other crimes should notify Mexican law enforcement officials and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City or the nearest U.S. consulate as soon as possible. Any U.S. visitor who suspects they are a target should consider returning to the United States immediately. U.S. citizens should be aware that many cases of violent crime are never resolved by Mexican law enforcement, and the U.S. government has no authority to investigate crimes committed in Mexico.”

    In March of 2010, prominent Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was allegedly killed by an illegal immigrant.  Foot tracks were identified and followed approximately 20 miles south to the Mexico border by sheriff’s deputies, U.S. Border Patrol trackers and Department of Corrections dog chase teams, authorities said.

    But it’s not a problem only border states like Arizona must deal with.  Citizens across the United States have been victimized by violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants from Mexico.  In August of 2006, Kevin Barnhill, a Cincinnati, OH native and employee of the Cincinnati Reds was stabbed to death by Enrique Torres, an illegal immigrant who authorities believe slipped back across the Mexican border.  He remains at large and is on the FBI’s most wanted list.

    The State of Arizona is looking to fight fire with fire.  In Arizona, the biggest concern for Mexican nationals is that a police officer might ask for identification.  At home and abroad, U.S. Citizens must provide documentation, but also have to fear kidnapping, violent crime and potentially murder.

    To protect our citizens we must secure our borders and ensure visitors to the United States are documented and here legally.

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    One comment

    1. Here’s the latest from Fox News on the hypocrisy that is Mexico’s stance on Arizona’s new immigration law. http://bit.ly/arKNlJ



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