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Mexican President Opposes Arizona’s SB 1070 on Visit to Capitol Hill — Others Question His Logic


CREDIT: Flickr / Gobierno Federal

As the Justice Department continues its examination of Arizona’s newest immigration law, Mexican President Felipe Calderón echoed his country’s sentiment on the immigration issue in the U.S. today during a news conference with President Obama.

Calderón told Obama yesterday, according to the Washington Post, that his country will “retain our firm rejection to criminalize migration” and “oppose firmly” the application of the Arizona law to law-abiding citizens in the United States.

An El Paso news station, KTSM, reported on Calderón’s comments on Arizona’s immigration law earlier this month, examining Mexico’s own harsh immigration policies. No one can doubt that Mexico has, in many ways, stricter policies on both legal and illegal immigrants that the U.S., but Calderón’s comments resonate with the opinions of the people of his country.

Just last Sunday in Mexico City, a concert with Mexican and Latin American musicians and bands organized by Mexico City’s government and dedicated to protesting Arizona’s SB 1070 — “Jóvenes Prepa Sí por la dignidad: Todos somos Arizona” (Students for Dignity: We Are All Arizona) — brought together nearly 50,000 people.

Other Mexican officials have also spoken out against Arizona’s law, including Secretary of Foreign Affairs Patricia Espinosa Cantellano. Later this month, a group of Mexican senators from the country’s three major parities will travel to Phoenix to discuss the state law with U.S. senators and immigrant advocacy groups.

According to the Washington Post, Calderón “said the United States and Mexico face a choice between moving forward or returning to ‘mutual recrimination, which has been so useless and so damaging in previous times.’”

Mexico’s outspoken opposition to Arizona’s SB 1070 has invited some questions about whether any other country has a right to criticize the U.S. for a domestic policy issue. “I just think it’s inappropriate to be a visitor in the United States or to another country,” Rep. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told the Dallas Morning News, “and to go in and criticize the domestic laws of that country.”

Others — even some opposed to SB 1070 — were protesting the Mexican president’s visit. Union members from United Steelworkers and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) cited the Mexican government’s violations of workers’ rights during his visit today. AFL-CIO’s Los Angeles County Executive Secretary Maria Elena Durazo said: “Just because a politician is defending immigrant workers in this country does not mean we will excuse him for fighting against workers rights in Mexico.”

Julissa Treviño is a staff writer for Campus Progress. She graduated from Ithaca College in 2009.

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